CEO recruitment

Chief Executive Officer

About the role

Position Title: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Appointment: Full time. 3 Year Contract (with the preference to extend based on performance and mutual agreement)

Remuneration: A performance incentivised package circa $350,000 pa.

Location: Sydney

About the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)

The Association of Financial Advisers Limited (AFA) is a peak, professional body for Australian Financial Advisers. With a proud history spanning 75 years, ours is an authentic voice representative of our members. Whilst striving to enhance the profession, we also advocate for policy settings that enable our members to provide great financial advice to more Australians. The key priorities of the AFA are outlined in the Strategic Plan, developed and approved by the Board of Directors.
The AFA is based in Sydney and has a National Board of Directors and a Board Executive (President, Vice President and Treasurer).


We passionately believe in the value of financial advice to transform people’s lives.
This statement speaks to our belief that our members are passionate about creating positive change in the lives of their clients, and that total wellbeing in a person’s life is best achieved when they understand their personal financial affairs and have a sense of direction and control of them.


We empower financial advice professionals to transform the lives of Australians through quality financial advice.


We create an environment for financial advice professionals to Collaborate, Advocate, Innovate and Learn.

About the AFA staff

The AFA staff comprises a small team with a big agenda and is divided into policy and professionalism, marketing and events as well as membership and partnerships. The Board and Executive work closely with the AFA staff and are supported by State Committees and ‘Communities of Practice’ which include many volunteers within our community. View the AFA team here

About the position

The CEO provides leadership and is accountable for achieving the organisational and strategic priorities as set with the Board of Directors. This position is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the AFA. In conjunction with the Board, the CEO will build the reputation and profile of AFA, and lead external relationships across relevant government, regulators and partners. The CEO demonstrates strong and active representation of and advocacy for the AFA with a key focus on the AFA vision. The CEO is accountable for the overall operational, financial and workforce performance of the AFA; including the effective, efficient, lawful, prudent and ethical management of all operational aspects of the organisation within the delegated authorities and the boundaries and constraints expressed in the Board stated delegations policies.

The CEO position leads a team of 15 staff located in Sydney and a network of volunteer-based committees across all states and territories.

Key Operational Areas

  • Membership – Responsible for attracting, retaining and providing services to AFA members.
  • Policy – Responsible for development of AFA Guidelines and Standards, and coordination of our involvement in policy and regulatory matters.
  • Partnership – Responsible for generating and maintaining AFA’s partnership income.
  • Communications and Marketing – Responsible for AFA’s external and internal communications and marketing.
  • Education – Responsible for the development of AFA’s education programs and courses;
  • Events – Responsible for the management of AFA’s events program including conferences;
  • Corporate Services – This includes: Finance; IT, HR and other corporate services.

Position Accountabilities

  • The CEO is accountable for the achievement of the Board approved strategic objectives, performance targets and standards (as set by the AFA Board of Directors, in conjunction with the CEO) and documented in the annual strategic directions document.
  • The CEO implements the strategy approved by the board and ensures that the organisation’s structure and processes meet the strategic and cultural needs of the organisation.
  • The CEO is accountable to the board for the performance of their responsibilities with expectations of the CEO keeping the board informed of all events and circumstances which have, or may be likely to have, a material impact on the organisation.
  • The board delegate such primary authority to the CEO, so as to empower the CEO to take responsibility for the day to day operations and management of the organisation.

With respect to Board accountability, the CEO shall:

  • Report to the board on the status of policies, strategies, directions and plans (business and otherwise) set or approved by the board;
  • Inform the board of all events within, or which reasonably should be within, his/her knowledge or awareness, which may or do have a material impact on the organisation’s activities or well-being;
  • Observe limitations of authority as set from time to time by the board; and
  • Regularly meet and consult with the chair (as the representative of the board) on all such matters.

With respect to leadership, the CEO shall:

  • Provide a strong, clear leadership to the organisation; ensure the organisation’s code of conduct is a living document, regularly updated, monitored and communicated;
  • Provide internal leadership direction, goals and energy to the organisation’s personnel;
  • Create and sustain a culture of innovation and enablement, aligned to the vision of the organisation;
  • Monitor and interpret the external environment in order to continually position the organisation in its markets to best advantage;
  • Maintain awareness of political, governmental, business and industry components of the external environment, on a local, national and international level;
  • Participate in appropriate business and professional associations, networks and activities relevant to the organisation’s interests;
  • Ensure effective relationship building with external stakeholders.

The CEO is responsible for:

  • The overall leadership and ongoing management of the day-to-day operations, including operational, financial and human resources of AFA.
  • Preparing the annual operating budget.
  • Developing a consensus for AFA’s annual strategic direction performance targets and standards in conjunction with the Board of Directors.
  • Identifying, sourcing and reviewing business development opportunities for future organisational development and growth; and providing the Board with advice, counsel and information on business development and expansion opportunities.
  • Developing and establishing any:
    • Operational policies, decisions, actions, practices and processes (including all operational related budgets, strategies, program plans, projects, contracts, personnel agreements, fiscal statements, and others).
    • Operational committees, business units and working parties as required to implement organisational activities and actions, and assist in the orderly conduct and operation of the AFA to achieve the Board stated strategic direction performance targets and standards.
  • Overseeing effective marketing of the AFA to existing and potential clients including the promotion of products and services and ensuring that marketing activities are aligned with the Board stated strategic direction, performance targets and standards.
  • Overseeing the development, maintenance, appearance, security and utility of the physical resources, assets, facilities, premises and locations to meet branding, Workplace Health & Safety, asset valuation and amenity expectations.
  • Developing and implementing effective compliance, ensuring appropriate systems are in place to fulfil all legal, statutory, regulatory, accounting and AFA policy obligations within the constraints of Executive Limitations policies. Implementing appropriate risk management systems within the constraints of Executive Limitations policies.
  • Implementing and achieving effective standards of stakeholder relationships as specified within the constraints of the Board stated strategic direction performance targets and standards. This includes representing and speaking on behalf of the AFA at a range of fora including but not limited to external committees, conferences and media.
  • Providing strong leadership to and effective management of all staff employed and/or contracted to the organisation within the constraints of Executive Limitations policies including;
    • Directly appointing staff and negotiating their terms and conditions of appointment (as well as coaching and professional development, conducting annual performance appraisals and performance counselling sessions (where required) with all direct reports). Endorsing the terms and conditions of appointment of all other staff members.
    • Encouraging, building and maintaining co-operation and teamwork; staff morale at a high level; a strong sense of staff identity with, and a sense of allegiance to, the AFA; and ensuring that all personnel act with the highest degree of ethics and probity consistent with the values of the AFA.
  • Aspects of these tasks may be delegated at the CEO’s discretion, noting that all accumulated accountability for all operational functions resides with the CEO.

Selection Criteria

The successful applicant will demonstrate high-level knowledge, experience and qualifications in:

  1. Organisational leadership and strategic planning at a senior executive level in a complex national setting.
  2. Having earned formal tertiary qualifications in business, leadership/management and/or related disciplines and maintained continuing professional development and currency.
  3. Being a creative thinker with experience in addressing complex policy and regulatory issues effective industry partner engagement.
  4. Business and financial management, corporate governance and continuous improvement. 
  5. Government level lobbying, negotiation and policy development and reform outcomes.
  6. Understanding and insights particularly of an association/membership based organisation including strategies for enhancing the member value proposition.
  7. Effectively engaging with industry partners, generating mutually beneficial commercial agreements and delivering value for partners.
  8. Executive responsibility and experience with Risk Management, Workplace Health and Safety.
  9. Communication and effective interpersonal skills across different contexts.
  10. Leadership and human resource management particularly in a dispersed national setting.
  11. Understanding the issues facing the financial advice profession both nationally and globally.

Special conditions

The CEO:

  • will be required to work out of normal office hours on occasion;
  • will be required to travel;
  • will enter into an annual performance agreement with the Audit Risk and Remuneration Committee/Board of Directors, with performance appraisals taking place at least every 12 months;
  • will be required to comply with the Code of Conduct at all times and demonstrate leadership in positively influencing culture in the organisation;
  • will be required to maintain confidentiality in the conduct of their duties; and
  • will be committed to workplace safety, equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity and working in a culturally safe and sensitive manner.

How to apply

For a confidential discussion, please direct your enquiry to:
Shaun McDonagh
P: 0417 728 238

Shortlisted candidates shall be subject to relevant probity checks and psychometric testing before an appointment offer is confirmed. You must have valid Australian permanent working rights to be considered for this role.

No recruitment agencies please.

Applications close 5pm AEST on Monday, 17 May 2021. 

Download the Position Description (PDF, 155kb).

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) is a membership organisation governed by a constitution and by-laws.
The AFA’s purpose is to support financial advisers to deliver great advice to more Australians.