Prime Super is to make gender diversity a consideration when replacing the HIP Super trustees who resigned following the merger of the two funds in May.

The fund, which currently has only six directors, is one of less than 10 superannuation funds without a female director on its board.

Martin Day chief executive of St Vincent’s Private Hospitals, is the first of the replacement directors announced, following the recent conclusion of an APRA investigation into allegations of malpractice at HIP Super.

The fund is seeking up to a further three directors from the health and aged care sectors, reflecting the membership of the old HIP Super scheme.

Speaking on the absence of a female director on its board, Alan Bowman, chair of Prime Super, said: “We are aware of affirmative action and that will certainly be part of the considerations.”

All replacement for the HIP Super trustees who left in May will be independents. Once the hiring is complete the fund will have seven independent directors, one trade union elected director (AWU) and one employer nominated director (National Farmers Federation).

Bowman said the new structure would put Prime Super “ahead of the curve”.

“There is a growing push in the industry to make industry super fund trustee boards more independent,” he said. “This structure allows the board to remain focussed on members’ best interests.”

There is no timeline for adding the new directors and appointments will occur as the right people are found.

Bowman did not perceive that high salary expectations would be a barrier to hiring good independents.

“That certainly has not been our experience in the past and we certainly do not anticipate it that it would be in the future,” he said.

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