(Pictured: Leeanne Turner)
by Greg Bright
Leeanne Turner, chief executive of the Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund (MTAA Super), has won the 2014 Fund Executive of the Year award. While she doesn’t like to dwell on the past, the award recognizes a significant feat in turning around a fund which had previously been beset with all sorts of problems.
The 13th annual award was announced at the annual members’ dinner of the Fund Executives Association Ltd at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney last week. The award has been sponsored, since inception, by AMP Capital.
Turner, a super fund management professional, has been CEO of MTAA Super since 2011, but was deputy CEO before that. She also worked for AVSuper, Military Schemes Secretariat, the Department of Defence and ComSuper.
The MTAA story, until Turner took over, was not a pretty one. Industry politics among the motor trades employers, a meshed management of super fund – where the money was – and motor trades association, and poor returns into the global crisis because of a massive allocation to illiquids under advice from Access Capital, almost brought the fund undone.
After the former chief executive of both the motor trades association and the super fund, Michael Delaney, was prompted to exit his position at the fund, Turner made a raft of governance and investment strategy changes. Delaney’s departure from the fund appeased most of the association’s major members, who are state-based. Some had threatened to set up their own super funds.
Under Turner’s leadership, and with clearer separation from the association, the fund rid itself of the politicking and got its investment returns back into the right quadrant.
John Meagher, AMP Capital head of institutional business said: “Leeanne is a worthy winner of the Fund Executive of the Year award having steered MTAA Super through a time of intense change for the industry. She has implemented major reforms to the administration and strategic direction of the organisation, developed a culture of continuous improvement and successfully repositioned the fund to the motor trades sector. Leeanne has also contributed to the industry more broadly through her involvement with Women in Super and as a board member of Industry Super Australia.”
Joanna Davison, FEAL’s chief executive, said: “Leeanne stands out as a fund executive of conviction and commitment. Her contribution not only to MTAA Super but to the industry as a whole is to be commended and I am delighted she has won this year’s award.”
AMP Capital provides the award winner with $20,000 as an executive education grant of their choosing. Previous winners have used the grant to attend various leadership courses overseas, including at the London Business School.