Three do battle for Conexus Small Fund of the Year

Meredith Booth

By

17/01/2018

Two industry funds and a regional bank retail fund are Small Fund of the Year finalists in the 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards.

BUSSQ Building Super, Kinetic Super and Bendigo SmartStart Super, all with less than $5 billion in assets under management, have been shortlisted for the honour.

Finalists were selected for criteria including investment performance (weighted at 40 per cent) fees (15 per cent), member services (15 per cent) and governance, insurance and pension services (10 per cent each), which incorporates how the fund interacts with its members through calculators, websites, advice and complaints.

Now in its sixth year, the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards recognise excellence in the industry in all aspects of operations. They are judged by the only truly independent awards panel in the sector.

Kinetic Super: Incorporating mental health

Kinetic Super, which manages $3 billion for its 250,000 professional and mobile worker members and was the 2016 Small Fund of the Year winner, states that, in 2017, it focused on low fees, strong long-term investment performance and member wellbeing.

Kinetic chief executive Katherine Kaspar says the fund, which is set to merge with SunSuper by May 2018, enhanced its offering to members in 2017 by partnering with mental health promoter SuperFriend.

“We want our members to arrive in retirement in good health,” Kaspar says.

The $4 billion, 30-year-old super industry provider BUSSQ, which has more than 85,000 members in the construction industry and 14,000 employers, has won recent industry awards for its consumer focus.

BUSSQ: ‘Retirement with dignity’

BUSSQ chief executive Linda Vickers says the fund’s aim is to create a superior lifestyle in retirement for its members.

“BUSSQ has recently undertaken 12 months of deep research to understand our members and the pain points that prevent them from retiring with dignity,” Vickers says. A number of financial solution packages have been tested to be rolled out (this financial year).”

Bendigo SmartStart: Community-minded members

Young retail fund Bendigo SmartStart, run by regional business Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, has one of Australia’s lowest annual fees – $98 plus investment costs – and offers members a choice of 11 diversified funds through the bank’s wealth management business, Sandhurst Trustees.

Head of Sandhurst products, solutions and superannuation, Justin Hoare, says the product is flexible across different member types – personal, employer-sponsored and retiree.

“Our reason for being niche is that we’re delivering to Bendigo Bank customers, who are generally community minded,” Hoare says.

About the Awards

The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards recognise excellence in the industry and aim to encourage super funds to raise the bar in all aspects of their operations. The focus of the Awards is to honour funds that offer products and services that will ultimately lead to better retirement outcome for members.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) deputy chair Helen Rowell is a special adviser to the judging committee, which remains the only truly independent awards panel in the sector. For the 2018 awards, it has broad representation from all areas of the industry – including the retail and industry fund sectors – and consumer representation. This is complemented by the perspectives of two offshore chief investment officers.

The judging panel consists of CalSTRS chief investment officer Chris Ailman, FEAL chief executive Joanna Davison, CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland, Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane, Rice Warner chief executive Michael Rice, and former Minister for financial services and superannuation the Hon. Bernie Ripoll.

While there are many other awards nights on the industry calendar, the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are unique in that they are not aligned to a research or ratings house, and do not charge funds to participate.

The 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are produced with thanks to platinum sponsor AIA Australia and event partner FEAL. All the winners will be announced at a special black-tie event on March 8 at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. Tickets are now available. To book, click here.

The 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are sponsored by event partner AIA Australia. All the winners will be announced at a special black-tie event on March 8 at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. Tickets are now available. To book, click here.

 

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