Conexus Financial, the publisher of Investment Magazine and Professional Planner will again recognise outstanding achievement in superannuation when it hosts the third Superannuation Fund of the Year Awards Evening in Sydney in May.

The awards have evolved to embrace input from key industry stakeholders, whose experience and expertise will be integral to identifying the best funds across a number of categories – including Super Fund of the Year and Pension Fund of the Year.

The aim of the awards is to celebrate excellence, and to encourage all funds and their staff and suppliers to strive towards the best possible outcomes for members, in all aspects of their funds’ activities. Vanguard Investments is again the awards’ major sponsor, continuing its involvement with Conexus Financial from previous years.

The awards will recognise industry best-practice among small, medium and large funds. And they will also spotlight individual excellence, with a specific award for the chief investment officer of the year.

There will be a focus on platforms and member-directed options; and funds’ investment capability and capacity to provide member services will also be assessed.

Nick Sherry, chair of the Conexus Financial Super Fund Awards selection committee, says public acknowledgment of the best funds creates an appropriate benchmark for all funds.

“Given the size and the importance of superannuation in both Australian and global contexts, it’s important to identify the best of the best – because that’s what all funds should aspire to,” he says.

“It’s always important to question what you do”, he says. “A fund should look at itself self-critically: can it do better?”.

Sherry says the 2015 Super Fund of the Year Awards Evening coincides with a critical period of change and development for the superannuation industry.

“We have started to enter a new era for superannuation funds, with MySuper and various arrangements around that, as well as the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA),” he says.

“Therefore it’s useful to see how funds are responding in that context, and the awards in May next year are important in that new era.”

Sherry says the Australian superannuation industry is notable in a global context for its complexity and Australian funds rate well compared to their global counterparts in terms of operating in a complex and dynamic environment.

“But as to who responds to those challenges better than others, we’ll see next year,” he says.

Participation in the awards is open to all public-offer funds in Australia – industry, retail and corporate – and entry is via nomination.

Nominations open in November, with finalists announced via Investment Magazine and Professional Planner in February next year. The winners of each category will be unveiled at the Conexus Financial Super Fund Awards evening at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on May 20.

The selection committee to assess nominations is an excellent selection of leading identities in the superannuation industry, each bringing to the committee a unique perspective, and expertise that is both broad, unbiased, and complementary.

Conexus Financial Superannuation Fund of the Year Awards selection committee

• Committee chair: Nick Sherry – senior adviser, superannuation and pensions, Citi; chairman, FNZ; former Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law; former Senator for Tasmania
• Jocelyn Furlan – chair, Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
• Tom Garcia – chief executive, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees
• Jenni Mack – chair, Superannuation Consumers Centre
• Michael Rice – chief executive officer, Rice Warner
• Colin Tate – chief executive, Conexus Financial
• David Wright – managing director, Zenith Investment Partners