Australian super in good hands

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The 2013 National Achievement Awards were held for the second time this week, announcing the best CIO and COO of the year.

More than 130 people attended, with FSC CEO John Brogden presiding over the event as the Master of Ceremony. Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction Andrew Robb AO, also delivered an address acknowledging the importance of the awards.

Commonwealth’s big corporate super fund for its staff came out on top, with Chief Investment Officer Gerard Parlevliet winning CIO of the year. Parlevliet, who started his career at Commonwealth Bank as a teller before working his way up the ranks, was strongly endorsed by the judges for his fund’s consistently good investment performance.

The other major category, the COO of the Year, was taken out by Graeme Arnott, Chief Operating Officer of the NSW Government fund First State Super. Arnott was commended for his work especially in handling operational issues surrounding his fund’s merger in 2011 with Health Super. He had a successful career at J.P.Morgan securities services, including country head for Australia, prior to taking on the COO role at First State Super in 2007.

The runners-up were:

  • For CIO of the Year:
    • Sam Sicilia, Hostplus
    • Michael Strachan, Equipsuper
  • For COO of the Year:
    • Paul Sayer, Rest Industry Super
    • Brad Morcombe, Maritime Super

The Awards were established last year to both encourage and reward senior management of fiduciary investors, such as super funds, multi-managers, insurance and government funds, for pursuing world’s best practices in their fields. Each Award carries a cash prize of $10,000 to be put toward an educational program of the recipient’s choice.

Greg O’Neill, the president and CEO of La Trobe Financial, said the nominations demonstrated the dedication and skill of the key people in charge of the bulk of Australians’ retirement savings.

“While it is clear to us that those savings are in good hands, there should be no grounds for complacency. I hope these Awards act as an additional incentive to the people in charge of investing the funds to continue to pursue excellence in their endeavours,” he said.

The Judging Panel consisted of Greg O’Neill, Greg Bright – director of La Trobe Financial, Christina Liosis – consultant and former CFO at Telstra Super, Chris Page – principal of Rainmaker Group, Jeff Bresnahan – chairman of SuperRatings, and David Coogan – partner at PwC.