The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees boosted its revenue and returned to an operating surplus during calendar year 2010, it was revealed at yesterday’s annual general meeting held before the start of the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds on the Gold Coast.

The financial statements and reports for the year ended December 31 2010, presented by David Coogan, Finance, Audit and Risk Committee Chair, revealed revenue increased from $6 million to $7 million.
“We were very lucky to have a modest surplus this year of $278,000 compared to a small loss last year of $26’000,” said Coogan.
AIST CEO, Fiona Reynolds said $2 million was in reserves, however due to a new policy requiring the association to have four months’ operating expenses in the reserve account, there was still a “little bit to go to meet that objective”.
The balance sheet was said to be in very good condition, with cashflow in a good position and interest income increasing from the previous year.
Coogan also acknowledged the expansion of the committee to cover risk, explaining a risk structure was now in place.
KPMG’s Ian Tracey, senior manager, concurred with the comments made by Coogan at the AGM, adding it was an unqualified signing off on the report.
Reynolds said the last 12 months had been some of the busiest for AIST, with AIST resources stretched to capacity as “we’ve tried to respond to an increasingly challenging environment”.
This environment resulted in AIST in questioning its role; its services and its future, said Reynolds.
Last year AIST developed, with Industry Funds Forum, a governance framework for the not-for-profit sector, which will be formally launched at the CMSF conference this week.
AIST also researched fund manager fees in an attempt to add to the public debate over the issue.  AIST worked with Rice Warner on a new risk-adjusted performance fee model, which is still being discussed with Treasury.
In regards to professional learning and development, AIST trained 1870 people, an increase on the 1400 trained in 2009.
AIST conducted 300 RGM146 courses, ran the first trainee program and developed new training programs and a new accreditation program.
AIST held more events last year, including the first Global Dialogue program to focus on the Asian region, which Reynolds said was highly successful.
The first member services symposium was also held in 2010.
The association attracted 17 new industry partners, which will give AIST important revenue and input into events.
Membership increased by 30 per cent in 2010, with AIST developing new community interest groups including “Young Super”.
The new website was launched and AIST’s social media capacity was developed.
Due to the reality of operating in an era of fund mergers, and murmurs of the need for associations to merge, Reynolds said AIST undertook an “at arms length” strategic review and a member survey.
The data from the reviews revealed trustee members want different things to fund staff, said Reynolds.
“We canvased the options of [association] mergers however our members thought that at this time the industry still needed non-conflicted voices and a strong not-for-profit sector,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds also acknowledged members wanted more clarification on the roles of the various organisations operating in the not-for-profit space and AIST needed to clarify  whether it was an industry or a professional association.
“We decided that we were really a bit of both,” said Reynolds.
“But over the next three years, the time of this strategic review, we would morph ourselves into more of a professional institute.  So to give effect to this we created a new governance and professional standards department and we’ve put in place two new board committees – an education committee and a trustee governance and professional standards committee.”
The results of the secret ballot for the election of directors was also announced at the AGM, with Gerard Noonan revealing Robyn Buckler from HostPlus, Angela Emslie from Vision Super and himself were elected in the category of trustee representative directors.
In the category of fund staff representative directors, Greg Cantor from Australian Catholic Superannuation Retirement Fund and Danielle Press from Equipsuper were elected.

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