Gabriel Szondy has joined the board of the Alcoa of Australia Retirement Plan, as chairman, having been the company’s tax and audit advisor for many years when he was a partner at PwC and even after Alcoa moved its headquarters from Melbourne to Perth. He has had, and maintains, several high-profile non-executive directorships in the super industry.
Szondy, the executive chair of the Centre for Institutional Investors (CII), an institutionally focused super industry conference company which is the result of a management buyout of the former Centre for Investor Education from Euromoney, is also the non-executive chair of Frontier Advisors, the big asset consultancy. He was a long-time trustee of Care Super and is still on that fund’s investment committee, and previously a director of Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Military Super.
He said last week (July 24) that CII was still “going along doing successful webinars”, which had temporarily replaced its traditional physical events due to COVID. These tended to be more intimate than the physical events, with about 30-40 people, which allows for greater detail in presentations and discussions. The industry conference sector was difficult enough before COVID, due to a lot of competition between the main players, and they have all attempted to pivot to online events, for which the sponsorship and attendance dollars tend to be less than for physical events. Costs are too, though, which is one bright spot.
The Alcoa corporate fund, which has about $2.5 billion in assets, has most of its functions outsourced, except the trustee role. Mercer is its member administrator, JANA is its asset consultant, and NAB Asset Servicing its custodian. Roughly 500 of its 2,000-odd members belong to the fund’s defined benefit division, which is closed to new members. Its six-member board includes three employer directors and three employee representatives.