AustralianSuper’s Mark Delaney was named Chief Investment Officer of the Year at the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.
The Chief Investment Officer of the Year award goes to the CIO who is deemed to have made the greatest contribution over the last 12 months to the implementation of investment strategies and the advancement of members’ interests.
Speaking via video, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) CIO Chris Ailman announced Delaney as the winner to a packed Ivy Ballroom in Sydney, where all the winners were revealed during a black-tie gala dinner on March 8.
Delaney was unable to collect his award in person, but said via video that it was a “great honour” to win, especially amid a field of “such tough competitors”.
Delaney thanked his investment team.
“They do almost all the investment decision-making and lead the process, so it’s a team award and I would really like to thank them very much,” Delaney said.
He also thanked his colleagues in the rest of the organisation and AustralianSuper members.
Other finalists for CIO of the Year were: Australian Ethical’s David Macri, MLC’s Jonathan Armitage, Statewide Super’s Con Michalakis, and Sunsuper’s Ian Patrick.
Ailman said the judges had been pleased to see a mix of CIOs from small, medium and large funds represented in the shortlist.
“This was one of the hardest decisions for the judges, as all of the CIOs have achieved so much of late.”
He noted that AustralianSuper, with Delaney leading the investments team, has delivered top-10 performance for its default option over one, three, five and 10 years.
“Mark has also overseen the development of an internal investment team that now manages about 26 per cent of the fund’s assets, which will rise to 50 per cent in the next few years,” Ailman said. “And during his 11-year tenure, the investment team has delivered $39 billion in investment earnings.”
AustralianSuper also took home the trophy for Default Fund of the Year.
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 CalSTRS CIO 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.”
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.