AustralianSuper was named Default Fund of the Year at the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chair Helen Rowell presented the award to AustralianSuper group executive, product, brand and reputation, Paul Schroder, at a black-tie gala dinner held at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on March 8.

Schroder said it was important for Australians to go into robust default funds and that the industry has a part to play in facilitating that.

“These are people who don’t make the choice themselves, let’s make sure they are defaulted into funds that are making them the most money and offering them the best insurance,” he said.

Other finalists for Default Fund of the Year were: LGIAsuper, QSuper, Sunsuper, Super SA, and UniSuper.

This category received more nominations than any other.

Rowell, who acted as a special adviser to the judging committee, said the funds were evaluated based on their member services, fees, insurance and investments.

“The largest weighting was assigned to a stochastic projection of the retirement outcomes a member might achieve in the default investment product,” she explained. “Marks were also allocated according to the volatility of this retirement outcome, the range of investment products and the historical performance of the fund.”

The next highest weighting was allocated to fees, followed by member services, insurance and fund governance.

“AustralianSuper performed particularly well in investments and also excelled in fees, member services and overall governance,” Rowell said. “The entry highlighted the wealth of experience of the staff, high standards and a dedication to members’ best interests.”

AustralianSuper’s Mark Delaney took home the award for Chief Investment Officer of the Year.


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.