The Australian Institute of Superannuation Fund’s Maryann Mannix-White shares some of her top picks from the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds 2018 program . 

The CMSF 2018 program homes in on some key themes that are challenging people and businesses globally.

Issues that speakers will address include: geopolitics, workforce trends, the economic outlook, challenges for long-term investing, branding and marketing, addressing inequality, coping with regulation, politics, robotics, artificial intelligence, unlocking big data, technology, customer experience design, insurance, tackling the problem of unpaid super, designing better post-retirement options, demographics, ESG issues, beating unconscious bias, Bitcoin, Brexit, super start-ups, governance and housing affordability.

It is a long and varied list, but rest assured, all roads lead back to the member; it’s about what’s in their best interest, and how funds can best deliver relevant, timely customer experiences to help people maximise their retirement savings.

On the agenda are six plenaries, 28 breakout sessions, six ME Learning Labs, five special interest sessions, two closed sessions and a bunch of great opportunities for networking.

Take some time to examine the program and make a note of the sessions you don’t want to miss.

On Wednesday morning, Plenary 1, with the World Economic Forum’s head of society and innovation Nicholas Davis, will explore the impact of the changing workforce on super, retirement and the wider community as we enter a fourth industrial revolution. Joining Davis on stage to discuss the topic will be Dr Charles Day, chief executive of the Office of Innovation and Science Australia, AustralianSuper’s Rose Kerlin, Ros McLennan from the Queensland Council of Unions, AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck and PwC global leader, people and organisation, Jon Williams.

Plenary 2, in the afternoon, will be delivered by Eurasia Group geopolitical expert Willis Sparks, who will share insights into what recent political and economic developments around the world might mean for Australian super funds.

Other sessions that are sure to be popular on Wednesday include Forum 1A, “What’s on the regulator’s radar” with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Jane Eccleston, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s Stephen Glenfield and the Australian Taxation Office’s James O’Halloran. Meanwhile, Forum 1B with J.P. Morgan Asia-Pacific head of robotics, Tancy Tan, will explore what robotics, AI and digitalisation will mean for super funds.

On Thursday, Plenary 3, titled “Political Watch”, will be led by the ABC’s Paul Barry, who will probe a panel of journalists and industry insiders on their predictions for the upcoming federal election and the potential implications for super.

That afternoon, Plenary 4 will be feature the 2018 Mavis Robertson Address, delivered by social justice advocate and writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied on the topic, “Beating bias”.

Another highlight on Thursday’s program will be Forum 3B, titled “How can big data inform investment product design?” Three global experts − Northern Trust Asset Management global head of retirement solutions Sabrina Bailey, JPMorgan Asset Management portfolio manager and head of retirement solutions Anne Lester, and Schroders global head of defined contribution and retirement Lesley-Ann Morgan – will share lessons from how major pension funds and investment managers around the world are increasingly using ‘big data’ to analyse savings and spending patterns to develop better solutions for their clients.

On Friday, Plenary 5 will shine a spotlight on the super start-ups. Four ‘disruptors’ will talk about their approach to superannuation and what their ventures are doing differently to the incumbent players. Hear from Zuper co-founder and chief executive Jessica Ellerm, GROW Super co-founder Mathew Keeley, Simplicity managing director Sam Stubbs, and Future Super founder Adam Verwey.

Ahead of the conference close, Plenary 6, titled “Housing affordability: The great divide”, will tackle this growing challenge for Australians’ retirement outlook. Shadow minister for housing and homelessness Senator Doug Cameron will provide the opposition’s view on how to tackle housing affordability, including proposed reforms to negative gearing, while Essential Media head of research Dr Rebecca Huntley and AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck will unveil new research.

On behalf of AIST, our board members, and the many of our members who have volunteered over the last year to pull together the program for CMSF 2018, I hope you enjoy the conference, and take back some valuable ideas to inspire the work you are doing within your fund.

The CMSF 2018 programming committee

CMSF 2018 content advisory board (alphabetically)

Tim Anderson, UniSuper

Royston Bennett, AMIST

Geoff Brooks, Equip Super

Joe Farrugia, Catholic Super

Kristian Fok, Cbus Super

Sam Harris, HESTA

Lindy Hunt, Club Plus Super

Liz Hunt, First Super

Vicky Maguire, AustralianSuper

Amy Maiolo, LUCRF

Richard Nunn, Statewide Super

Endre Peterfy, Equip Super

Fabian Ross, WA Super

Lee Scales, UniSuper

Kirsty Strano, Sunsuper

Peter Tresder, AustralianSuper

Leeanne Turner, Energy Super

Bill Watson, First Super

Cameron Wood, Australian Catholic Retirement Fund

AIST board

Debby Blakey, HESTA

Catherine Bolger, State Super

Louise du Pre-Alba, AustralianSuper

Naomi Edwards, Tasplan

Geoff Lake, Vision Super

Gerard Noonan, Media Super

Michael O’Connor, First Super

Craig Peate, Local Government Super

Mark Puli, ESSSuper

David Smith, Energy Super (chair)

Suzette Thurman, First State Super

AIST staff

Nicole Browne

Janet de Silva

Ailsa Goodwin

David Haynes

Theresa Hoogland

Maryann Mannix-White

Eva Scheerlinck (CEO)

Karen Volpato

Maryann Mannix-White is the chief membership officer at the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and was the coordinator for the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds 2018 content advisory board.

READ MORE: All the coverage from CMSF 2018 

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