Chairs of some of the country’s largest superannuation funds have flagged that knowledge and experience of the technology sector is the skill they are looking for most when recruiting directors to join their boards.
The chairs also identified strengthening the composition and experience of directors on super fund boards as the most important contributing factor for improving governance.
These were the key insights from an anonymous electronic poll of delegates at the Conexus Financial Chair Forum in Healesville, Victoria, on January 30-31.
Attendance at the annual Conexus Financial Chair Forum is open only to the chairs and deputy chairs of superannuation trustee boards and their investment committee chairs.
The 2017 delegates represented 39 superannuation funds, collectively responsible for roughly $700 billion of the nation’s $2.1 trillion compulsory retirement savings pool.
When asked to pick the one change, from a list of options, they believed would be most effective for improving the efficiency and governance of their board, 40 per cent of delegates said changing the composition and experience of its members. The next highest priority, selected by 25 per cent of respondents, was to improve the quality of board papers.
To the question of what knowledge areas and skills they would like to see better represented on their board, the most common response, selected by 24 per cent of chairs, was technology. Directors with specialised investment decision-making skills also remain highly sought after, with 21 per cent of chairs selecting that response. Risk management and superannuation law, two other traditional areas of expertise for super fund trustees, also remain in high demand, as 15 per cent of chairs responded they seek directors with these skills.
On an encouraging note, 100 per cent of respondents said they believed their fund’s investment decisions reflected a long-term mindset.