Chris Davies, chief executive of TelstraSuper, has been awarded the 2019 Fund Executive Association Limited Fund Executive of the Year.

Davies who has been head of the $21 billion fund since November 2013, was recognised at a FEAL annual members’ dinner held at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne on Wednesday August 7.

The annual award, which is in its 18th year and is sponsored by AMP Capital, recognises a fund executive who has made an outstanding contribution to their fund and the superannuation industry.

Davies, who won the prestigious award for his contribution to a number of areas including digital innovation, corporate strategy and industry leadership, said he was “truly humbled” to accept the award and join the past recipients he has long looked up to for “leadership and inspiration in his daily work”.

“So, imagine how it feels for me to be asked to join this illustrious group … although it is about the whole team, it’s about the executive team at TesltraSuper and how tight we are,” he said.

Davies said he has been in the superannuation industry for a long time and has always been proud to tell people he worked in the industry.

“I still feel the same and despite the times of turmoil we are going through – and unfortunately it seems to be that the political process these days requires tearing down institutions – all of us come to work every day and do the right thing for our members,” he added.

“We need to sustain ourselves through this time and deal with the challenges in the knowledge that we are doing the right thing.”

Marsha Beck, managing director of AMP Capital in Australia, commented: “Chris’ outstanding leadership of TelstraSuper and contribution to the industry over several decades makes him the perfect recipient for this award. His passion for digital innovation in particular has helped members become more engaged with their superannuation and goals for retirement.”

Davies has more than 30 years’ experience in financial services and is an advocate for innovation in the superannuation industry. He is a board member of ASFA and is the chair of ASFA’s Super System Design Policy Council as well as a number of other ASFA committees. Davies is also a member of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal Advisory Council.

Joanna Davison, FEAL chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce Chris as the 2019 fund executive of the year. His dedication to providing the best possible service to members at TelstraSuper whilst contributing to positive changes in the superannuation industry more broadly is outstanding.”

Speaking about the 18th anniversary of the award, Beck added: “AMP Capital has had a longstanding partnership with FEAL to sponsor this award. Recognising outstanding leadership in superannuation is an important pillar to rebuilding confidence in the system and ultimately improving retirement outcomes for all Australians.”

Fund Executive of the Year was assessed across five criteria: innovation, leadership, response to challenges, development of strategic planning and contribution to the marketplace.

The FEAL annual members’ dinner, also announced a new scholarship winner for the Michael Dwyer Leadership Scholarship which entitles a FEAL Member to attend the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership executive colloquium.

The award was won by Norlena Brouwer, group executive, risk & compliance at Hostplus.

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