Deanne Stewart

Females are among the top paid executives in superannuation and were the biggest movers and shakers in Investment Magazine’s 2021 super fund salary survey, but the bulk of the cash in the top 10 rankings still goes to men.

Deanne Stewart (main picture) became the highest paid superannuation fund CEO in the country this year, leapfrogging from 7th position the previous year, a timeframe that encapsulated her switch from the top job at Metlife Australia to the CEO role at First State Super.

Stewart’s rise to be the top paid super fund executive was on the back of a period when she led the integration of Aware’s financial planning business, oversaw a merger with Victorian-based super fund VicSuper and launched the fund’s new brand, Aware.

Stewart was joined by CEO of HESTA Super Debby Blakey (pictured, left) and REST CEO Viki Doyle as the three female CEOs in the top 10 paid chief executive ranks, according to the survey data.

Just two of the top 10 chief investment officers are female in this year’s Salary Survey. The full data-set from this year’s survey can be found here.

Telstra Superannuation Scheme’s Anne-Marie Corboy (ranked 7th) and HESTA’s Nicola Roxon (ranked 10) are the two females in the industry’s highest paid chairs.

While men continue to dominate the top paid CIOs and CEOs, some of the biggest leaps among the top paid super fund executives on this year’s list were made by females.

HESTA CIO Sonya Sawtell-Rickson (pictured, below) was the fastest moving investment chief, rising from 9th position last year to 6th position this year to earn $944k, according to the public disclosures.

Anna Shelley enjoyed a close to 30 per cent pay increase compared to the previous corresponding period after her role responsibilities grew when Equip and Catholic Super combined and subsequently rebranded under the new brand, Togethr. Despite her expanded responsibilities Shelley remains outside the top tier of highest paid CIOs and executives with a $564k pay packet.

Debbie Blakey, who was raked outside the top 10 highest paid CEOs during the survey period, enjoyed a 26 per cent pay increase to rank 6th in this year’s survey.

CareSuper CIO Suzanne Branton is pushing up the rankings of the of highest paid CIOs with a 10 per cent increase in this survey compared to the previous corresponding period, while Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation’s Alison Tarditi maintained her fifth-ranked position on the top paid list of CIOs this year.

Sue Brake is another prominent female in the senior ranks of chief investment officers however her salary ranking is not captured in this survey because her appointment with the Future Fund landed outside the data capture period.

Despite movements up the list of top paid female executives, males in the superannuation industry still enjoy the largest share of the top 10 executive wages in both the CEO and CIO categories, the survey reveals.

Female salaries account for 14 per cent of the total remuneration earned by the industry’s top 10 CEOs, even though Aware’s Stewart was the number one ranked CEO on this year’s list. Meanwhile female CIOs take home just 10 per cent of the total top 10 CIO pay.

All told, female salaries represent less than a quarter or 24 per cent of the combined highest paid CEOs and CIOs respectively, the survey shows.

You can find the full coverage of this year’s Investment Magazine Salary Survey here.

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