Six industry super funds as well as public sector fund Commonwealth Superannuation Corp paid their CIOs over a million dollars as investors endured one of the most volatile years on record.

UniSuper’s John Pearce edged out AustralianSuper’s Mark Delaney for top spot in the year ending June 2022 according to information from their annual reports.

Pearce’s total compensation was $1.58 million and in second place was Delaney with total remuneration of $1.54 million, dropping from the $1.73 million he took home the year before. In third position was CSC’s Alison Tarditi having earned $1.44 million, the only woman in this elite group of industry fund investment professionals.

Chief investment officer compensation

Top earners

The rest of the top earners were: Aware Super’s CIO Damian Graham at $1.24 million, Cbus’s Kristian Fok with $1.18 million, Hostplus’s Sam Sicilia with $1.11 million and Australian Retirement Trust’s Ian Patrick at $1.06 million.

Some of these funds such as AusSuper have sizeable internal investment teams of well over 100 professionals located on- and offshore while Hostplus and ART mandate external managers to invest for their members.

Increasingly the role of the CIO in super funds with large internal teams is developing into an executive-type function as the organisation transforms into a quasi-asset manager with a growing proportion of assets held directly on its balance sheet.

Designing the investments team

Organisational design of these expanding investments team needs to be well thought out, similar to when embarking on a merger, according to consulting leader for the Mercer Pacific region’s Cynthia Cottrell.

She says an investment management group growing from 15 to 40 people has many of the same considerations as an organisation going from 100 employees to 200.

There is also an emerging trend offshore among asset fund managers to tie executive remuneration to the firm’s sustainability targets. While that is evident in listed companies in Australia where a CEO may have a key performance indicator that is specific to their performance and remuneration, Cottrell has not seen this trend emerge in the funds management space in Australia.

“How it translates to investment management, and particularly those who are looking after those portfolios is still playing out in Australia and it will just be a trend to continue to watch,” she tells Investment Magazine.

Super funds are competing with fund managers, investment and commercial banks for the same talent pool as they take on more direct management activities.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity by super funds to attract the right talent; they are increasingly and seemingly demonstrating that they can offer a compelling proposition to a graduate. That is new and speaks to the opportunity now,” Cottrell says.

This data was compiled based on published reports only by Conexus Financial researchers. All care was taken in its collation. Superannuation, short term and long term incentives are included in the total reported rem dataset. Accrued annual or long service are not included, nor are non-monetary benefits. If total rem is not reported then it’s calculated from other monetary elements.

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