Pressure from the superannuation regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has forced MTAA Super to change its board structure. The $6 billion industry fund formerly had four employer and four member representatives as well as an independent chairman. It will now have three employer and three member representatives and three independent directors. Bob Allen, an employer nominated director, and Mark Perica, a member nominated director, will leave the board. A recruitment firm has been hired to search for new appointments to the board. The changes coincide with the announcement that Michael Delaney, CEO of the $6 billion MTTA Super, will retire in November. A search for the fund’s new CEO is under way.

Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, says: “MTAA Super was not set up as a traditional industry fund but as an employer association and that has led to perceptions that the fund, rightly or wrongly, wasn’t properly run.” Susan Ryan is putting everyone on notice that age discrimination is prejudice. Her mission for the next five years is to expose offenders and reward those working for its eradication. Ryan, who recently became Australia’s inaugural age discrimination commissioner, had first-hand experience of prejudice early in life. As a student teacher, she became engaged to marry – only to be told she could not continue studying and also would have to repay her teacher scholarship money. The only reason for the termination was that she was female. In contrast, male students could marry and continue studying on full scholarships. This, and other experiences, fired Ryan’s determination to fight against discrimination and prejudice.

In 1975, she became the ACT’s first female senator after campaigning under the slogan, ‘A Woman’s Place Is In The Senate’, and she stayed in the upper house until 1988. During the 1980s, she notched up two important positions: Minister assisting the Prime Minister Bob Hawke on the status of women from 1983 to 1988 – and driving the landmark Sex Discrimination Act 1984 – and Federal Education Minister, again under Hawke, from 1984-87. Fast-forward to the middle of last month, and Ryan’s appointment for a five-year term as the country’s first commissioner for age discrimination. This position is a result of the Gillard Labor Government’s election promise to appoint such a person and fund the office with $4 million over the next four years. Anticipating suggestions of jobs for the girls, Ryan says she came to the “The regulator is happy to see the changes made by MTAA Super,” says Reynolds. “There had been an ongoing observation of the fund by the regulator who had stated concern about its governance.” In a statement, John Brumby, chairman of MTAA Super and a former Victorian Premier, said: “The changes will not only broaden and strengthen the board of directors but renew and refresh management of the fund.”

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