The McGuirk figures are taken  from a survey of 57 industry funds, 30  corporate funds, 14 public sector funds  and one corporate master trust. The  public sector is the most generous, paying  chairs an average $61,473 and directors  an average $32,853. It is followed  by the industry funds, which pay chairs  $52,316 and directors $28,761. Last are  the corporate funds, which allow chairs  $48,564, and directors, $24,678.  But of these funds, six industry,  17 corporate, one public sector fund  and the master trust do not pay their   trustees at all.

APRA found that some  54 per cent of directors were either not  paid by the board or did not declare  their pay.  One such fund is the $14 billion  Retail Employees Super Trust (REST),  whose board hardly seems to have  changed since its inception in 1988. Joe  De Bruyn, an employee representative  appointed by the Shop, Distributive  and Allied Employees Association, has  been a board member since the beginning.  Rohan Jeffs, an employer representative  appointed by Woolworths, has  been on the board since 1990.

Both are  volunteers.  A spokesperson from REST said its  board members firmly believe in the old  adage ‘profit for the member’ and that  taking salaries would ultimately lead to  a lower return for members. Damian  Hill, chief executive officer at REST  was unavailable for comment, but one  assumes he would say that REST is  able to provide a well governed fund  that has consistently good returns without  paying high trustee remuneration.  “It’s an argument that they make  very well,” says Rosario. “But the challenge  for other funds is that most of us  have to bargain in the skill matrix. And  there are serious liabilities for getting it  wrong.

REST have been very fortunate.”  Westscheme pays its chairman  $114,490, and each director $54,956.  Its committee members also receive a  sitting fee of $1,284. Each board member  is paid directly and is responsible  for making arrangements with their  employer if Westscheme obligations  clash with business hours. “We wanted  to pay our board members directly so  that there is no confusion that they  work for Westscheme, and that we are  a top priority,” Rosario says. “Also as the  original board began to consider retirement  from the workforce, we needed to  figure out a way to keep them engaged  as board members, so we started to  remunerate directly.” 

Westscheme discloses the remuneration  of its directors in its annual  reports as far back as 1995, in which  it is revealed that its two independent  directors at the time were paid $10,500,  in addition to a superannuation contribution  of $1,050. “We realised long ago  that people needed to be paid for the  work that they do,” Rosario says. “And  as the industry became more complex,  experience on the board needed to  extend beyond the layman.” 

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