David Bell, the executive director of the Conexus Institute investment and social research body, announced last week that most of the organisation’s efforts would be devoted to analysing and advising on the impact of the coronavirus. It has suspended some projects accordingly.
Bell, a former fund manager and CIO of Mine industry fund, said: “The superannuation industry is facing the perfect storm of concurrent challenges: investment turmoil, liquidity demands, major operational disruption, member concerns and unexpected policy changes. We will do all we can to assist the industry during this period.”
In a statement, the Institute said: “Given the coronavirus crisis we have decided to park our initial research priorities (except for the growth / defensive categorisation project) and focus on doing everything we can to assist the industry through the current crisis. We will seek to inform government on policy options and implications, liaise with regulators and provide insight where possible, help funds by providing guidance and models on good practice, and help consumers to be better informed. Hopefully all of this will contribute to better consumer outcomes.”
He also announced the final make-up of the organisation’s advisory board:
- Professor Hazel Bateman (UNSW, deputy director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), inaugural president of the International Pensions Research Association (IPRA)
- Marisa Broome (chair of the FPA, and founder and managing director of Wealthadvice)
- Greg Cooper (director of NSW Treasury Corporation, Perpetual Limited, Colonial First State)
- Jeremy Cooper (chair, retirement income, Challenger)
- Ian Fryer (head of research, Chant West)
- Professor Pamela Hanrahan (UNSW, and board roles at the Law Council of Australia and Landcom)
- Dr David Knox (senior partner and senior actuary, Mercer, lead author of the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index)
- Xavier O’Halloran (director, Super Consumers Australia)
- Kevin O’Sullivan (chief executive officer, UniSuper), and
- Nicolette Rubinsztein (various boards including UniSuper, Zurich & OnePath Insurance, Class Ltd, CBHS Health Fund and SuperEd).
Board members associated with Conexus, an events and publishing company, are Colin Tate, Amanda White and David Bell.