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L. Ian Roach
, 1994

by Paul Fitzgerald

oil on canvas (frame: 91.0 cm x 74.5 cm, support: 77.5 cm x 61.0 cm)

Leonard Ian Roach (1925-2003), founding chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange, initiated the amalgamation of six stock exchanges, one in each State capital, into an Australian Stock Exchange in the mid-1980s. Roach attended Scotch College and served in the RAAF Medical Corps before graduating in Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne. After working in the Tax Office and as a valuer, he became a private client adviser in 1961 and established his own firm, Roach Williams and Co in 1964. His own firm evolved before it was acquired by Merrill Lynch in 1997. In 1973 he joined the committee of the Melbourne Stock Exchange; he became its chairman in 1981. Legendarily, in 1985 he brought together the Chairmen of the State stock exchanges at a dinner at his home, and by the end of the evening (part of which they spent masked) the men had resolved to put aside their animosities and combine as one national concern. Although Roach was only Chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange from 1987 to 1989, a contemporary is said to have remarked that ‘Roach was to the Australian Stock Exchange what Marilyn Monroe was to sex.’ He retired from the broking industry in 1999. A generous benefactor, Roach gave millions of his own dollars to philanthropic institutions and to fund scholarships for students whose parents could not afford private schooling. As Chairman of the William Buckland Foundation from 1986 to 2000, he grew the fund’s capital by more than 300 per cent, and changed its focus from bricks-and-mortar to proactive and preventative projects. From 1990 to 1992 he was chair of the Centre for Independent Studies. Amongst his legacies is the Ian Roach Concert Hall, an outstanding music venue, at Scotch College.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the Australian Securities Exchange 2012
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2012.225