Former Sunsuper chief executive Tony Lally was paid more than $811,000 in remuneration in his final year at the fund. The $24-billion fund’s 2013 financial statements show him to be one of the industry’s highest paid executives.

The average fund chief executive received a 5.7 per cent pay rise to $333,087 in 2012-13, according to a survey of 82 super funds by McGuirk Management Consultants in January 2013. Chief executives in the top-10-per-cent remuneration bracket received at least $485,100.

Lally’s base remuneration rose 7.1 per cent to $575,129 in the 2013 fiscal year, according to the statements. He also received an incentive bonus of $211,723 (the same amount as 2012) and $25,000 in superannuation (half the $50,000-contribution in 2012).

However, Lally said Sunsuper’s operations were far more complex than most large industry funds.

“The big difference between Sunsuper and those other funds is that they outsource one of the hardest parts of the business, which is operations [and customer service],” he said. “My salary reflects the fact that we do a lot more at Sunsuper than [they do at] other funds.”

He contrasted the high head count at Sunsuper to the 150 to 200 typical at other major industry funds and said that he had also assumed the duties of chief executive of CSA Retirement Services (formerly Citistreet), an administration company that Sunsuper acquired in 2008.

“There’s lots of technology and lots of complications – it’s a very complex part of the business,” he said.

Sunsuper is more comparable to commercial funds such as MLC, whereas most industry super funds focus on marketing and investments, he added.

In August, Lally stepped down to pursue non-executive director roles after six years leading the fund.

Sunsuper was named SuperRatings fund of the year in 2012 and 2013 based on its investment performance, competitive fees and member engagement, advice and communication strategies.

In other annual reports released in October, $22.8-billion Cbus disclosed that chief executive David Atkin received an 8.3 per cent rise in base pay to $514,572 in 2012-13 and $25,000 in super contributions.

AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk received $564,456 base pay in fiscal 2013. His total pay was $611,339 after including $25,000 in super payments and benefits including a car and parking space. Chief investment officer Mark Delaney was the $65-billion fund’s highest paid executive after receiving performance payments that brought his total remuneration to $776,765.