VicSuper won Best Advice Offering at the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.

Former parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer Bernie Ripoll presented the award to VicSuper executive manager, distribution, Josh Parisotto at a black-tie gala dinner held at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on March 8.

Parisotto said change in the financial services industry, including the ongoing Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, has heightened the need for advice and member demand matches that.

“The part of our offering we are most proud of is the depth and the breadth of advice services we provide to our members,” he said. “It’s fair to say we’re looking at branching out our services, in terms of ancillary benefits around estate planning and aged care.”

Other finalists for Best Advice Offering were: AustralianSuper, First State Super, QSuper, Sunsuper and UniSuper.

Ripoll − who is also a former chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, and former shadow minister for financial services and superannuation − said the judging committee assessed the finalists based on their ability to provide access to the best advice and financial planning services, both general and personal, to enable their members to maximise retirement benefits by optimising contributions and investment strategies.

“VicSuper has demonstrated a commitment to providing high-quality advice as part of its service to members,” Ripoll said. “It has built a strong network of advisers with both metro and regional advice centres. The fund has a team of 40 providing personal advice, sets high education standards for its advisers, has clearly put members’ interests first, and does not take commissions.”

It was just one of three trophies VicSuper picked up on the night. The fund also took home Member Services Fund of the Year and the Innovation and Transformation gong, which was awarded in recognition of the fund’s successful launch of a robo-advice platform.

 

Click here to see a full list of all the winners >>

About the awards

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull thanked all the winners and finalists for their contribution to making Australia’s superannuation system “even better”.

“There are few industries that have such significant and far-reaching effects on people’s lives,” Turnbull said. “One of the important ways we can build a better superannuation system is by encouraging and awarding innovation and excellence…Tonight’s awards do just that.”

While there are many other awards nights on the industry calendar, the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are unique in that they are not aligned with a research or ratings house, and do not charge funds to participate. Actuarial and consulting firm Rice Warner assists with quantitative analysis.

The judging committee comprises California State Teachers’ Retirement System chief investment officer Chris Ailman, Fund Executives Association Ltd (FEAL) chief executive Joanna Davison, CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland, Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane, Rice Warner chief executive Michael Rice, and former minister for financial services and superannuation, the Hon. Bernie Ripoll.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chair Helen Rowell is a special adviser to the judging committee, which remains the only truly independent awards panel in the sector.

“APRA views sound governance practices as fundamental to the delivery of value for money outcomes for members,” Rowell says. “I was, therefore very pleased to see the steps taken by the judging panel this year to enhance the approach to assessing governance and give it more weight in determining the winners in various categories.”

The 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are produced with thanks to platinum sponsor AIA Australia and event partner FEAL.

“AIA is honoured to sponsor the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards, because we feel this is a great way of recognising the important work funds do, looking after millions of members,” AIA Australia head of corporate and master trust clients Anthony Clough said.

“As a purpose-led organisation, AIA has a partnership philosophy at the heart of our business, and funds are amongst our most important partners in the industry.”

VIEW: Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2018 photo gallery 

Nearly $50,000 was raised on the night for the event’s charity partner The Wayside Chapel. Conexus Financial would like to thank guests for their generosity. If you would like to add to the tally, you can still donate via The Wayside Chapel website.