The country’s largest industry superannuation fund has named former Macquarie banker Jim Craig as the new independent chair of its investment committee.
AustralianSuper announced on Friday, April 21, 2017, that Craig, who has served on the investment committee since 2016, was appointed its new chair on March 2.
“AustralianSuper is about ensuring long-term returns for members in retirement and this is something I look forward to contributing to over the journey and working closely with the investment team on,” Craig said.
Nixon Apple, a member representative alternate director to the AustralianSuper board, has been acting in the role since former investment committee chair Tim Poole left the fund in 2015.
Craig will also join the AustralianSuper board as an independent director, a role also previously held by Poole.
AustralianSuper chair Heather Ridout welcomed Craig’s appointment, saying he brought a wide range of experience, expertise and knowledge to the investment committee and board.
“With his knowledge of markets and funds management, he will make a key contribution to helping our almost 2.2 million members secure the best possible retirement,” Ridout said.
Craig led Macquarie’s businesses in Europe from 2003–08 and was chair of Macquarie Capital (Melbourne) from 2008-14. Since retiring from Macquarie, his directorships have included Australian United Investment Company, Cell Care Australia, River Capital, Lifestyle Communities, and Trinity College at the University of Melbourne.
In his role as investment committee chair, Craig will lead the panel that oversees the decisions of the AustralianSuper investment team, led by chief investment officer and deputy chief executive Mark Delaney.
Delaney heads a team of nearly 200 internal investment staff who manage more than 20 per cent of the fund’s total assets, now about $109 billion, in house.
AustralianSuper is now seeking a second independent director to join its board. The fund also has five member-nominated directors and four employer-nominated directors (including Ridout).
This comes as the Turnbull Government is pushing to force all super funds to hand one-third of their board seats to independent directors, including an independent chair. The industry fund lobby has vehemently opposed that proposal.