To say 2020 has been an eventful year for the superannuation and institutional investment industry is perhaps an understatement. Its collective purpose and character has been examined, compared, discussed and held to scrutiny, at times with candour and even dissent amid volatile financial markets, shifting policy and flaring ideological battles.
The top 10 most read Investment Magazine stories for 2020 – below – paint a picture of adaption in a crisis, creative thinking in dislocated uncertain financial markets, testing of business models and continuing consolidation amid a shrinking number of funds responsible for an increasing pool of assets.
Government’s decision to allow financially stressed people to access $20,000 of their retirement savings has taken the super industry by surprise and added further liquidity pressure on funds that were already reeling from a sell-off in equities.
UniSuper’s investment chief John Pearce is the highest-paid executive among Australia’s industry superannuation funds and is one of 10 people to take home a pay packet of more than $1 million.
REST Super is among the funds likely to fall short of the government’s new performance benchmark even though its MySuper product also stands to be one of the major beneficiaries of the proposed ‘stapling’ changes.
Some of Australia’s biggest super funds are said to be preparing to step in and snap up assets owned by Hostplus, helping the beleaguered industry fund address any liquidity issues.
The nation’s largest super fund has turned a spotlight onto some of the more nuanced risks which come with investing in unlisted assets.
QSuper and Sunsuper are inching closer to a merger to create Australia’s largest superannuation fund overseeing more than $195 billion in assets.
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.
IOOF’s deal to acquire MLC from National Australia Bank will catapult the diversified financial services group into the second-largest superannuation fund spot in the country by member assets and the largest based on platform funds under advice.
Sonya Sawtell-Rickson is half way through her three-year plan to restructure the fund’s investment function. She’s buying more private assets, kicked off internalisation plans and sold equities ahead of the market rout.
Australia’s largest superannuation funds including Sunsuper, First State Super and Cbus all say they have enough liquidity to meet any redemption needs. At least for now.