The Australian Council of Super Investors Inc (ACSI) has significantly increased its budget to allow for the employment of a full-time chief executive and new research staff.

The move follows increased demand from the association’s 41 member funds for advice and guidance on environmental and social risks with investments as well as ACSI’s traditional role in corporate governance. Michael O’Sullivan, ACSI president, confirmed yesterday that the board had approved the increased budget. He said the chief executive position would be advertised this Friday. “We have had a demand for more services from our members,” he said. “We have always done governance but there’s an increased demand for advice and guidance on environmental risks and social risks … The members want more to be done and they’re prepared to pay more.” ACSI is a not-for-profit association whose members include Australia’s largest industry, public sector and corporate super funds. Until now, Phillip Spathis, who works for Industry Funds Services’ legal arm, has acted as part-time executive officer for ACSI, with the help of O’Sullivan as honorary president. O’Sullivan is also chair of CARE Super. The increased budget comes ahead of the association’s next annual conference, being held in Melbourne on June 15. One of the keynote speakers is Stephen Davis, who heads a specialist governance consultancy, Davis Global Advisors. Davis is the co-author of a new book, ‘The New Capitalists’, which looks at the largely unused power of pension funds and other fiduciaries around the world.

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