What’s happening at Christian Super

by Greg Bright 

After nine years at the helm of Christian Super, the $1.3 billion super fund which has made its mark on the industry by developing ‘impact investing’ strategies, Peter Murphy has stepped down as chief executive. He has moved back to a consulting role which gives him a wider brief to continue his good work.

Tim McCready, the acting CIO, who is himself transitioning to a new specialist impact investing offshoot of the fund, will fill the CEO role until a replacement is found.

Christian Super, although a small fund, has become a bellwether for others which are studying how to make money out of ESG principles. The fund, under Murphy’s guidance, has shown that it is possible to be both a top performer and a fund which makes a difference for society.

It is actually a fund which has shown that it is possible to satisfy its own members’ personal preferences to do good things and also give them the strong prospect of providing for a better-than-average income stream in retirement.

Most of Christian Super’s members are, as you’d expect, devout Christians. In a world where APRA and others are pushing for the amalgamation of smaller funds with larger ones to achieve possible benefits from increased scale, Christian Super has demonstrated that that is not necessarily in the members’ interests. Other small funds should follow suit – knowing their members better than anyone else does (certainly better than APRA) and still maximizing their returns.

Murphy said last week that in his new role, as a consultant at Robertson & Chang, he would be able to influence the deployment of more capital to reduce the “socially inefficient” investment behaviour of investors.

Prior to joining Christian Super in 2007, Murphy, who previously worked for Macquarie Bank, from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, was a consultant at Resolve Consulting, which is a specialist accounting and advisory firm looking after not-for-profit organisations and schools.