HBF appoints experienced investor

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HBF has called on a current member of the Reserve Bank board to help guide its investment strategy.

The Perth-based private health insurer has announced experienced investor Mark Barnaba will chair its new Investments Committee.

The committee, which will be established in April this year, will guide and provide oversight of HBF's $1.7 billion investment portfolio.

“We are absolutely delighted Mark has agreed to take on this important role for HBF,” said chair Tony Crawford.

“Maximising investment returns while minimising risks is crucial to HBF’s financial performance. Our ability to keep premium increases low is inextricably linked to the performance of our investments, hence our decision to establish a new specialised committee to manage our investment portfolio,” he said.

“In John Van Der Wielen we already have a Chief Executive with global investment expertise and Mark’s appointment means we will now have one of Australia’s most astute and experienced financial minds guiding our investment strategy.”

Mr Crawford said the insurer has a new growth and expansion strategy that "sets lofty ambitions" and requires the best expertise available.

"Mark is one of the nation’s most credentialed, respected and sought-after business leaders. We’re delighted that he’ll be joining us at this crucial time,” he said.

“We remain a not-for-profit health insurer with members at the heart of our decision-making but the way we operate is changing. We intend to deliver more for our members by being more efficient ensuring world’s best practice is implemented across our business. Mark’s appointment is one tangible example of this."

Mr Barnaba, a former WA Citizen of the Year for Business, is currently deputy chairman at Fortescue Metals Group, a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia board, chair of the Reserve Bank of Australia audit committee, chair of the UWA Business School Board, adjunct professor of Investment Banking and Finance at UWA, and a senior adviser to Ernst & Young (Oceania). Mr Barnaba previously chaired the West Coast Football Club, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Western Power Corporation and several ASX-listed companies.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours) from UWA, an MBA from Harvard Business School (Baker Scholar) and an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce from UWA.