ACFS initiated Funding Australia’s Future in 2012 to better understand the changing dynamics of the financial system and its impact on future economic growth.These three papers, released in September 2015, explore specific challenges to the financial sector highlighted by the Financial System Inquiry, Tax System Review and Intergenerational Report. While quite diverse, each topic has a bearing on important issues for the future of the financial system and its role in serving the economy.

The research was launched by Rupert Jolley, Chief Advisor to Treasury Secretary John Fraser.

Media Release | Launch Event

More information on each research paper can be accessed using the links below.


Dividend imputation and the Australian financial system: What have been the consequences?
Professor Kevin Davis Download the paper | Download the presentation | Download the Op-ed

Dividend Imputation was introduced in Australia in 1987. Despite many theoretical and empirical studies, there is little consensus on its effects on the cost of equity capital, share prices, or investment. In contrast, there is general agreement on the effects on corporate leverage and dividend policy, and asset allocation strategies of investors. The objective of this paper is to outline these effects, drawing on and critically reviewing the existing literature to assess what conclusions can be drawn, and sources of disagreement on imputation’s effects. Read More


Big and better data, innovation and the financial sector
Dr Ian Oppermann Download the paper | Download the presentation

Due to their scale, corporations and governments have traditionally had greater access to data than individuals, creating “Information asymmetry” or “knowledge gaps” between institutions and individuals. Today, the democratisation of data and advanced analytics have allowed smaller players to generate insight, create value and compete with new business models. This paper explores the implications of greater access to data and advanced analytics on the Australian financial sector. Read More


Financial issues in retirement – the search for post-retirement products
Professor Deborah Ralston Download the paper | Download the presentation

Older Australians face three critical financial issues that are intertwined with lifestyle circumstances: achieving adequate financial resources for maintenance of a reasonable standard of living over the retirement phase; the potential need to transition to a different form of accommodation consistent with lifestyle needs and preferences; and the need to provide for an increase in expenditure on medical services in the later stages of life. These three aspects of financing retirement needs raise difficult risk management issues for individuals, government and the private sector. To what extent can the private sector play a role in assisting individuals and reducing the public costs of providing such services? Read More


A key objective of this project is to ensure the papers bring together a diverse range of insights and opinions from all areas of the Australian financial services sector, however in accordance with the ACFS Code of Research Conduct, the final outcomes are independent. This project was supported by the following organisations:




Professor Kevin DavisProfessor Kevin Davis is Professor of Finance at the University of Melbourne, Research Director of the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and a Professor of Finance at Monash University. His primary research interests are financial regulation, financial institutions and markets, financial innovation and corporate finance. He is co-author/editor of 16 books in the areas of finance, banking, monetary economics and macroeconomics and has published numerous journal articles and chapters in books. He is the Deputy Chair of SIRCA, a member of the Australian Competition Tribunal, and has undertaken an extensive range of consulting assignments for financial institutions, business and government. Professor Davis is a Senior Fellow of Finsia, a Fellow of FTA and holds Bachelor of Economics (Hons I) from Flinders University of South Australia and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University. He was appointed by the Federal Treasurer in December 2013 as a panel member of the Financial System Inquiry chaired by Mr David Murray.

Dr Ian OppermannDr Ian Oppermann has over 20 years’ experience in the ICT sector and, has led organizations with more than 300 people, delivering products and outcomes that have impacted hundreds of millions of people globally. He has held senior management roles in Europe and Australia as Director for Radio Access Performance at Nokia, Global Head of Sales Partnering (network software) at Nokia Siemens Networks, and then Divisional Chief and Flagship Director at CSIRO. During his time with Nokia Siemens Networks, Ian also led the technical evaluation of all M&A candidates for the network software business. Ian is considered a thought leader in the area of the Digital Economy and is a regular speaker on “Big Data”, broadband enabled services and the impact of technology on society. He has contributed to 6 books and co-authored more than 120 papers which have been cited more than 3200 times. Ian has an MBA from the University of London and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mobile Telecommunications from Sydney University. Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Senior Member of the Australian Computer Society, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Deborah RalstonProfessor Deborah Ralston is Professor of Finance at Monash University and is Cluster Leader of the CSIRO-Monash Superannuation Research Cluster. Deborah has held a number of leadership positions in Australian Universities and is a researcher and recognized thought leader in financial services. Most recently Deborah has stepped down from her role as Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS), a position which she held since 2009. Her research interests include the impact of financial regulation, the strategy and management of financial institutions, superannuation and innovation. She has published widely in these areas and is a co-author of the text Financial Institutions Management. Deborah has a PhD in finance from Bond University and a Master of Economics from the University of New England. Deborah is a Fellow of the CPAA and AICD, and is a Senior Fellow of Finsia. She has over 20 years of experience as a non-executive director on public and private sector boards. She is currently a Director of ASX Listed Mortgage Choice where she is Chair of the Investment Committee for Mortgage Choice Financial Planning. She was recently appointed as the Chair of ASIC’s Digital Finance Advisory Committee.


The Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS) initiated the Funding Australia’s Future project in late 2012 to undertake a stocktake of the Australian financial system, and its role and challenges in facilitating future economic growth within the wider economy.

In an economy that has enjoyed 21 years of consecutive economic growth and shown a resilience through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) which is the envy of many nations, the financial sector has played a strong and pivotal role. The past decade, however, has been one of significant change. The impact of the GFC and the subsequent wave of global re-regulation have had a profound effect on patterns of financing, financial sector structure, and attitudes towards financial sector regulation. Identifying the extent to which these changes are transitory or likely to be more permanent is crucial to understanding how financing patterns and the financial sector will develop over the next decade or so.

The Funding Australia’s Future project is in three stages, the third of which explores key challenges to the Australian financial system, highlighted by the Financial System Inquiry, Tax System Review and Intergenerational Report.