Awards show competition at funds alive and well

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(pictured: Kevin O’Sullivan, MC Pauline Vamos and Warren Chant; Mark Delaney; Andrew Howard, REST, and Scott Hartley, Sunsuper)

The Australian super fund industry is held up as a model for the rest of the world but “in true Australian fashion” we tend to talk down its achievements, according to Warren Chant. The Chant West Awards are testament to the competition among super funds.

The Chant West founder told the annual Awards night last week that the Murray Inquiry was critical of the industry for being inefficient and lacking in competition. “At Chant West, we don’t accept that,” Chant said.

“We see healthy competition every day. Our industry has over 100 MySuper products with 27 of them over $5 billion. The funds compete fiercely. It is hard to imagine that it doesn’t produce competitive fees and services…

“The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to look at it and develop alternative models to allocate default products to members. These are difficult tasks and we all should help in the process.”

He said that in 2015 – a year when 50 per cent of funds had negative cashflows and 20 per cent showed a decline in net assets – $31 billion or nearly 30 per cent of total inflows came from personal and salary-sacrifice contributions.

“Clearly funds are doing something right. Clearly not all members are disengaged,” Chant said.

A total of 35 big funds, both not-for-profit and commercial, were represented at the Awards presentation, where UniSuper took out the major award as ‘Super Fund of the Year’.

The two main contributions to a fund’s assessment for the Chant West ratings and also the Awards are investments, which total 35 per cent, and member services, which total 25 per cent.

Interestingly, UniSuper picked up the main award without winning any of the other 11 categories on the night. It also won the main award last year. The other two finalists for the award were: Sunsuper and QSuper.

Accepting for UniSuper, the chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan, said he was humbled to accept on behalf of staff, board and members. “When I accepted this last year I said that we were standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and I say that again this year.”

The other winners were:

  • Asset Consultant of the Year – JANA. Runner up was Frontier Advisors.
  • Innovation: Best Fund – QSuper. Runner up was Care Super.
  • Integrity: Best Fund – Sunsuper. Runner up was Energy Super.
  • Longevity Product: Best Fund – equal winners were the Challenger Liquid Lifetime Annuity and the VicSuper Guaranteed income product (which uses Challenger as its engine).
  • Insurance: Best Fund – MLC Masterkey Business Super. Runners up were BT Lifetime Super Employer and NGS Super.
  • Investments: Best Fund – AustralianSuper. Runner up was UniSuper.
  • Member Services: Best Fund – QSuper. Runner up was Sunsuper.
  • Specialist Fund of the Year – HESTA. Runner up was Mine Wealth + Wellbeing.
  • Advised Product of the Year – Asgard Infinity eWrap. Runner up was Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale Super.
  • Corporate Solutions: Fund of the Year – Sunsuper. Runner up was Plum.
  • Pension Fund of the Year – Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale Pension. Runners up were QSuper and UniSuper.
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