Sunsuper has moved to a one third independent, one third employer and one third employee representative model for its board.
Michael Traill AM and Andrew Fraser will start their duties as independents this month and will join Jenni Mack who was appointed as the fund’s first independent in July.
All were unanimously selected by the Sunsuper board following an external recruitment process involving global executive search firm Egon Zehnder.
In a prepared statement that avoided the use of the word independent, referring to the new directors as “not direct appointments of Sunsuper’s shareholder bodies”, Ben Swan, chair of the Sunsuper board – who is an employee representative, framed the move as setting a standard for the superannuation industry to follow.
“As a board we are acutely aware of the importance of strong governance not only for Sunsuper, but for the superannuation category as a whole,” he said. “Failures of governance will adversely affect the whole industry in terms of our standing in the community.”
He said the appointments of three directors, represented Sunsuper doing “our bit to enhance governance in the super system”, before acknowledging that this model might not suit all funds.
“We believe it is the right thing to do for our business and customers,” Swan said.
Most recently, the Sunsuper board was made up of five employer representatives and four employee representatives.
Scott Hartley, chief executive at Sunsuper, framed the appointments in terms of the fund’s desire to expand in size and offer, but also in terms of its bid to increase its ability to acquire unlisted assets.
“Michael and Andrew’s appointments are not only critical to enhance the good governance of our holdings in private equity, but their extensive experience in this field, as well as strong expertise across a broad range of commercial capabilities will support the ongoing development of the business,” said Hartley.
Sunsuper sees unlisted assets as a key part of a diversified portfolio, but requiring specialist investment skills and governance oversight.
Traill has spent 14 years as founding chief executive of Social Ventures Australia, and, prior to that, 13 years as an executive director at Macquarie Bank, where he jointly founded the organisation’s private equity business, Macquarie Direct Investment.
Fraser experience lies in government, serving as the youngest ever Deputy Premier of Queensland and Treasurer of Queensland from 2007 to 2012. During this time he oversaw a $15 billion privatisation program including the $2.3 billion sale of the Port of Brisbane.