A superannuation awards that seeks to give a level playing field for funds, whether large or small, is the intention of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards, says selection committee member Michael Rice, chief executive of Rice Warner.

Nominations for the awards close on Monday February 16, a short list of entrants will be published in March and the award winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney on May 20.

“A lot of awards are very generic and typically size and weight wins because it is more about presence than quality,” said Rice. “The superannuation industry is very complex and so what you are trying to do is categorise the awards into homogenous groups, where the comparisons can be made on a like-for-like basis quite fairly.”

For the purpose of choosing the most deserving winners, Rice was one of the architects of the awards questionnaire, across the criteria of governance, default funds, fund choice, investment strategy and risk, insurance, member services and pension funds.

“The awards is looking at a number of criteria and the reality is that each of those areas is quite complex,” said Rice.

Nick Sherry, chair of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards selection committee, commented on this issue of complexity. “Funds might think the process is onerous, but it is necessary and worthwhile to make the awards meaningful,” he said. “Superannuation is a complex area, with many moving parts and multiple layers. The nomination process for the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards is detailed, and that ensures the funds that make it through have been thoroughly assessed.”

The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards selection committee is as follows.

• 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

More details on how to enter the awards can be found at http://www.conexusfinancial.com.au/superawards/. For those funds unable to complete the full entry form by the deadline of Monday 16 February, we are happy to accept notice of intention to enter one of the seven award categories. Please contact [email protected] for this purpose.