The $75 billion Sunsuper has scooped up three gongs at the Chant West Super Fund Awards for 2020 including winning Super Fund of the Year.

Sunsuper, which is in the midst of a merger with QSuper, also won Corporate Solutions Fund of the Year and Best Fund for Member Services. For its part, QSuper was named Pension Fund of the year and Best Fund for Investments. This year Chant West partnered with Conexus Financial to host the 2020 awards before the outbreak of the coronavirus forced the event to pivot to a digital format.

“The main game is not just what we do for our members this year, but it is what we do for our members over the next 30 years,” said Ian Fryer, head of research at Chant West. “We need to gear up so that we have all we need to be strong funds for the long term. We need to invest in our people, invest in our systems and invest our members’ money in ways that provide great outcomes for our members for the long term not just for this year.”

This year’s awards were arranged just as the global pandemic sparked a liquidity crisis among Australia’s $3 trillion superannuation industry. The market turmoil sparked a surge in members switching into cash just as the government announced that Australians would be able to tap up to $20,000 of their super early.

The move prompted funds across the industry to sell assets to raise liquidity as well as to rebalance their portfolios. In the midst of the market selloff, some of Australia’s largest funds were forced to disclose that they had enough money to meet liquidity needs at least for now.

“At this point in time it’s beholden on us to be optimistic about the future,” said Martin Fahy, chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia. “The reality is that the attempt to build back better in the coming months and years superannuation is going to play a key role.”

Fahy also noted that 1.2 million Australians had so far tapped their super early, equivalent to more than $10 billion, which he said spoke to the “strength and resilience” of the system.

“That strength and resilience requires that superannuation has adequacy, that it is compulsory and that it is universal and we need to defend those pillars going forward,” the CEO said.

Among the other award recipients to be announced, Cbus Super was named Specialist Fund of the Year and NGS Super won Best Fund for Insurance. CFS FirstChoice Wholesale was also awarded Best Fund for Longevity Product. Colonial First State just this week announced that KKR had bought a 55 per cent stake in the firm for $1.7 billion.

Elsewhere, UniSuper has been named Best Fund for Advice Services, while VicSuper, which is due to complete its merger with First State Super next month, won Best Fund for Integrity. Russell iQ Super – Employer, part of the $437 billion money manager Russell Investments, was awarded Best Fund for Innovation.

See below for a full list of all the winners and nominees for this year’s awards.

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