A whole-of-fund modelling exercise by Qantas Super has helped inform a decision to move to a new lifecycle fund in October.

Jane Perry, chief executive of Qantas Super, told delegates at the FEAL National Conference how the modeling exercise – undertaken together with Russell Investments over four months in 2014 – was made with the intention of informing the future direction of the fund on a number of issues.

The inputs to the model were targeted stakeholder interviews, member surveys, financial data on members, historic member behaviour, and investment data.

A key finding was that members did not place a high value on their fund being a top quartile performer in survey rankings, and that the personal journey to retirement was more important.

Coupled with an awareness of high member retention rates, this led to the decision to create a new lifecycle investment strategy with input from the fund’s investment consultant, Mercer.

A new retirement option tailored for members will also be launched in October. Perry spoke about how the data that resulted from the modelling exercise helped put the fund’s sponsor, the senior executive and the board in complete agreement about the future direction of the fund.

She spoke of how such data helped take the emotion out of such decisions too. As part of the exercise, proposals such as taking the fund public and, at the other extreme, outsourcing the fund entirely were considered.

Perry paid tribute to the way the process had helped improve communication and decision-making between the executive, the board and the sponsor. She said that the discussions on the future direction of the fund with the sponsor had now moved from being a “deep mystery” to having a shared understanding.

Perry, who is stepping down from her role in December, has now presented to the board a 10-year strategic view of the fund. “I feel fantastic about what we have been able to do. I could not feel more proud,” she said  of this legacy and achievement.

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