QSuper was named Pension Fund of the Year at the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.
Labor Senator Jenny McAllister presented the award to QSuper executive general manager, strategy and performance, Glen Hipwood, at a black-tie gala dinner held at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on March 8.
Hipwood said the QSuper team was proud to have won the award for the fourth consecutive year.
Over the last 12 months, a focus for the fund has been making sure pension-aged members know about its innovative balance transfer bonus.
“One of our key objectives is not just having good products, but making sure our members understand and use them,” Hipwood said.
Since 2016, QSuper members moving from the accumulation phase who select an account-based pension fund (rather than taking a lump sum) have automatically received a “bonus” crediting them for the tax savings to which this entitles them. The retention rate for this option has been about 95 per cent of pension members.
Hipwood said QSuper is working hard to develop even better retirement income solutions with increased flexibility.
Other finalists for Pension Fund of the Year were: AustralianSuper, LGIAsuper, Sunsuper, UniSuper, and VicSuper. The shortlist was chosen based on an evaluation of each fund’s product design, member services, fees and investments.
A high weighting was given to the retirement outcomes an average member might be expected to achieve, with special consideration to the quantum and volatility of projected income.
The judges said QSuper scored highly for the breadth of features available in its pension offering, while remaining highly competitive on fees and investments.
“In the current economic environment, it is vital for pension members that a fund strike a balance between maximising outcomes and keeping risk exposure to a minimum,” McAllister said. “QSuper stands out for its investment products, its flexibility and for continuously improving its pension option to guide members along a safe path in retirement.”
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.”
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.