Kinetic Super has taken home Small Fund of the Year at the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.

Fund Executives Association Ltd (FEAL) chief executive Joanna Davison presented the award to Kinetic Super chief executive Katherine Kaspar during a black-tie gala dinner held at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on March 8.

The room cheered especially enthusiastically for Kinetic’s win, recognising that the fund will cease to exist as a separate entity from mid-May.

Kaspar spoke of how the board and executives of the high-performing small fund took the bold decision to merge with Sunsuper to give its members even better outcomes.

“We kept asking what more can we give to our members; can we enhance the service offering? Can we enhance our digital footprint? Can we engage in a better way with our members? That was part of our decision-making,” she said.

Kaspar described it as an “intense” experience, but said after the due diligence was completed, it was clear the merger would be in members’ best interests.

Other finalists in the Small Fund of the Year category were: Bendigo SmartStart Super and BUSSQ. The award goes to the fund with assets of less than $5 billion that ranks best among its peers, based on a range of quantitative criteria determined by the judging committee, in collaboration with Rice Warner.

A large weighting was given to investment projections and volatility. The judges found the three shortlisted funds were largely equal here.

Furthermore, there was little to set apart any one of them from the rest when it came to member services. Ultimately, it was Kinetic Super’s insurance offering that placed it above its peers.

“Kinetic provides a full suite of features to its members at best value, and the low administration costs mean members get a better end result,” Davison said. “It is a brilliant example of how a dedicated group of people can work towards the best outcomes for their members.”

Kinetic also won Best Insurance Offering and, along with its merger partner Sunsuper, was joint winner of the coveted Fund of the Year Award.

The merger of Sunsuper and Kinetic Super is due to be completed in May 2018.


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, FEAL’s 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.