AIST’s Investment Rising Star Award has been awarded to Kevin Wan Lum, acting chief investment officer and head of equities and alternatives at VicSuper.

The award recognises leadership and innovation through the investment process, as well as contributions made to raising awareness of superannuation.

Wan Lum was nominated for the award without his knowledge, though he said it now makes sense why the chair of VicSuper’s board insisted he attend the plenary session at AIST’s Superannuation Investment Conference.

“This award is really a reflection of all the fantastic people I have worked with, both at QIC and VicSuper too,” Wan Lum said.

He added that he had been internally advocating for a whole-of-fund approach across three areas: fund managers, asset allocation, and at the fund level.

The judging panel consisted of industry experts in the investment field, as well as external experts, who were impressed by Wan Lum’s deep breadth of knowledge about both macro and granular investment issues that informed effective decisions, as well as his demonstrated collaboration within the industry, and his leadership.

“In the absence of the chief investment officer he has seamlessly stepped into the role of acting/interim chief investment officer,” a representative of the judging panel said.

Wan Lum added that everyone at VicSuper has equal footing.

“We recently took the time to explain to everyone that while they may not directly add to a member’s returns, they do so indirectly, and because of this they are important,” he said.

For instance, the person who did photocopying may not have realised the value of their job, but by doing it they freed up people, such as Wan Lum, to focus on their core competencies and improve member outcomes.

Last year the award went to Sophie Newby, investment analyst at First State Super.

Looking to the future, Wan Lum said that he was considering applying to be the permanent chief investment officer of VicSuper.

As the winner of the Investment Rising Star Award, Wan Lum will receive a strategic leadership study tour in the UK – worth up to $10,000 –  including visits and workshops within UK pension schemes, such as the BT Pension Scheme, investment management firms and industry bodies.

Hermes Investment Management sponsored the award.

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