MTAA Super has gone from the point of collapse to winning best medium-sized super fund in a remarkable turnaround of fortunes.

Both the fund’s chair, John Brumby, and its chief executive officer, Leeanne Turner, paid tribute to MTAA’s staff, management and board who had put in dedicated and sustained work over the last four years to revitalise and reposition the fund.

“It’s been quite a journey for MTAA,” said Brumby. “When I became chair four years ago we had come through a big dip post-GFC and we needed to make a lot of changes. We restructured the management of the organisation, a new CEO, a new deputy CEO and a new team. Leanne has never put a foot wrong and has been superb in her role along with all of the staff.”

Another structural change was the board composition. It now is spilt into a third independents, a third employer representatives and a third employee representatives, and has three women sitting on it.

Brumby thanked APRA, who were the original instigators of the change, in his acceptance speech.

“The fact is they worked very constructively with us over a period of years to make the changes we needed to make to be a top team,” he said.

Some of the biggest changes to MTAA has been to strategic asset allocation. Four years ago nearly 55 per cent of the fund’s assets were illiquid, but now they have “got the book in great order”.

Turner said the organisation has proven its resilience, standing it in very good stead in a landscape of ever ongoing change.

“This award is particularly significant, and I really commend Conexus Financial and the selection committee, because it has been bestowed after deliberation by a very, very distinguished team considering a very, very extensive nomination process and I do congratulate you on that,” she said.

Philip Mussared, chief executive of the Retirement Benefits Fund, picked up the award for small fund of the year.

Speaking to Investment Magazine he cited his fund’s success as due to the commitment of the board in 2011 to make RBF a “platinum status” fund and that subsequently over the last four years had steadily increased the quality of its offering for members.

Quizzed on the outcome of the Tasmanian Government’s consultation into the future of RBF and whether it had the necessary economies of scale to continue as a separate entity, Mussared stated that his preferred option for RBF was to merge with the operations of Tasplan and Quadrant, which are already on a separate course to merge in November this year.