The process for shortlisting finalists in the third annual Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards was setup with the express purpose of eliminating commercial interest from the decision making procedure, Colin Tate, chief executive of Conexus Financial said.

Tate said what separates these awards from others in the superannuation sector is the independent nature of the selection process.

“The selection committee was convened at arm’s length from Conexus Financial or any other commercial party. The seven people are truly independent of commercial interest,” Tate said.

The selection committee was chosen for its broad range of stakeholders, with consumer groups, industry knowledge and industry analysts all represented.

Tate added that Conexus Financial, publisher of Investment Magazine, Professional Planner and Top1000funds.com and organiser of more than 15 educational financial services conferences globally, doesn’t sell research or other services to superannuation funds in contrast to the business model of research house who also offer awards.

Funds recognised as having the best MySuper defaults, the best member engaged services, the best pension funds and those that have created the most far reaching innovation in the past year have been whittled down to four names.

The winners in each category, plus an award to the overall fund of the year, will be named in a ceremony at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney on May 20.

“Nor will the winners be charged licence fees for the use of the awards in their marketing or other activities,” Tate said to further emphasise the independent nature of the awards from commercial interest.

Nick Sherry, chair of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Fund Award selection committee, said public acknowledgement of success in the industry creates a benchmark for all.

“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 said.

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

The shortlists have been drawn up by a quantitative assessment of each fund by RiceWarner, upon which the selection committee placed relative weights on the criteria they thought most important.

“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),” Sherry said.

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

 

The weightings used for the categories are:

Large/medium-sized/small fund of the year; fees 20 per cent, member services (call centre, website, advice, ancillary, KPIs, complaints and surveys) 20 per cent, investment (projections, volatility, flexibility, range and performance) 40 per cent, insurance (features and premiums) 10 per cent and pension (TTR, CGT, frequencies and other) 10 per cent.

Default fund the year; investment proposition 60 per cent, fees 20 per cent, member services 10 per cent and insurance 10 per cent.

Member engaged fund of the year; call centre 20 per cent, website 20 per cent, and advice 20 per cent, with ancillary, KPIs, complaints and surveys each 10 per cent.

Pension fund of the year; investment proposition 30 per cent, pension product design 30 per cent, member services 20 per cent, fees 15 per cent and general capability (scale and governance) 5 per cent.

The entries for each category were assessed by the selection committee for innovator of the year. Chief investment officer of the year was decided by judges’ choice.

The members of the selection committee were:

Nick Sherry (chair) – senior adviser, superannuation and pensions, Citi; chairman, FNZ; former Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law; former Senator for Tasmania.

Jocelyn Furlan – former 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

 

There are a limited number of seats for the awards ceremony. To book either a table or a single seat visit conexusfinancial.com.au/superawards.