Working at AOFM
AOFM is a specialised agency responsible for the management of Australian Government debt. It also manages the Government's daily cash balances and undertakes investments in financial assets. These activities fund Government programs and aim to advance economic growth and stability and support the effective operation of financial markets. The AOFM's debt management activities include the issuance of Treasury Bonds, and the operation of a securities lending facility that allows financial market participants to borrow Treasury Bonds from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The AOFM's cash management activities include the issuance of Treasury Notes for short-term funding, with surplus funds being invested in term deposits with the RBA and in short-term money market instruments such as bank-accepted bills and negotiable certificates of deposit. During the 2008-09 year, the AOFM also commenced investing in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) under a Government program to support competition in lending for housing. It is likely that future Government initiatives may add further to AOFM activities and AOFM needs people who are able to meet such challenges.
AOFM is high performing
In January 2009 the AOFM was presented with the Sovereign Debt manager of the Year award by Risk Magazine in London. The commendation referred to a range of activities undertaken by the AOFM in 2008, including issuance to maintain an active sovereign debt market, execution of interest rate swap terminations, investments in residential mortgage-backed securities and risk management initiatives aimed at reviewing, prioritising and mitigating the operational risks faced by the Agency.
As at June 2009, 83 per cent of AOFM staff held degree qualifications (14 per cent had higher degrees and 28 per cent held double degrees) and 25 percent had professional qualifications in their field. Every individual staff member is important to our work and contributes directly to the achievement of our objectives. Professional and technical standards are very high. Employees are supported in their career development and in building their professional skills through work experience, in-house training and assistance with external studies.
AOFM is small
It has around forty staff with a mixture of specialised financial market, public policy and administrative skills. The relatively small size of AOFM means that staff are better aware of the overall strategies and operations of the AOFM and how the various parts work together. They can seek to experience different aspects of financial markets and transactions and observe how public policy objectives interact with financial markets and how they operate. AOFM people are called to use a wider range of financial, policy and administrative skills than they might in more specialised positions in a larger institution. As a result they can learn and gain experience over a broad field relatively quickly. Learning is well integrated into job requirements.
The AOFM places high importance on maintaining harmonious relations between staff, including through good communications, coordination and treating other staff members with respect. Relations with other staff and personal communications behaviour are important elements in performance appraisals and in the assessment of staff for advancement.
The AOFM grows its own
It meets its workforce needs primarily through the recruitment of new graduates and their subsequent development through on the job experience, mentoring, assistance with further academic studies and in-house training. This approach is designed to maintain the core professional strength of the AOFM on a continuing basis. It allows people with strong academic achievements to develop specialised skills and experience related to the AOFM's work requirements, expanding their knowledge of financial markets and debt management, and also of public policy and administration.
New staff can contribute new ideas and openness to change in the AOFM. They are encouraged to do so, both in the normal course of on the job activities and through in house discussions and seminars. Training and development activities aim to increase skills and broaden experience, while nurturing originality and initiative. Development plans are formulated as part of annual Individual Performance Plans; their implementation is monitored by managers and assessed as part of the performance appraisal processes. Staff are encouraged to link training and development opportunities within AOFM to their career development. This can be enhanced by mentoring.
The AOFM aims to retain staff by providing challenging and interesting work, in a friendly and professional work environment, with opportunities for learning and career development. Remuneration is based on comparisons with rates paid by conservative financial institutions in both the private and public sectors. Remuneration also reflects performance through a structured performance appraisal system. A broad-banded classification structure allows staff to advance between work levels within classification grades without formal competitive selection processes. Promotions across grades are made on a competitive merit selection basis.
The AOFM offers more
As well as undertaking debt issuance and investment transactions, the AOFM manages the risk of its portfolio, including credit risk assessment, and undertakes performance measurement, reporting, compliance, settlements and accounting, information technology, human resources and corporate services functions. It monitors developments in financial markets and assists overseas sovereign debt management agencies in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Thailand, China and elsewhere in our region.