Australia Day 2020 Honours List

In the recent Australia Day honours, Michael Rice was awarded by the Governor-General an Officer of the Order of Australian (AO) in recognition for his distinguished service to business and economics, particularly to the actuarial profession, and through advisory roles.

Also Professor John Piggott, Scientia Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), was awarded an Order of Australia AO for his service to education, to population ageing research, and to public finance policy development.

Jenni Mack, former chair of CHOICE, chair of CoAct and current Sunsuper trustee director, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition for her significant service to business through consumer advocacy roles.

ASFA would like to congratulate them.

AvSuper appoints Mercer as administrator

AvSuper has announced the appointment of Mercer as their preferred administrator, following an extensive tender process.

AvSuper CEO Michelle Wade said: “As an industry fund for the aviation and aviation services industries, we have an in-depth knowledge of our 6,500-plus members, including the services and advice they need, as well as when they’ll need it.”

Mercer’s CEO Australia Ben Walsh said he was particularly pleased that the fund would be administered from Mercer Administration Services, based in Wollongong, complementing the business’ growth strategy in the region.

“It’s clear that we have a like-minded partner in AvSuper who recognises as much as we do the importance of supporting regional employment opportunities. We have real expertise in superannuation administration in Wollongong and are committed to creating jobs and investing in the Illawarra,” Walsh said.

First State Super celebrates launch of Sydney Light Rail

In December, First State Super joined with thousands of other Sydneysiders to celebrate the official launch of the new CBD and South East Light Rail along the L2 Randwick to Circular Quay line.

As a majority investor in the project, First State Super CEO Deanne Stewart said the opening marked a significant milestone in the future economic prosperity of Sydney.

“While First State Super’s primary objective is to deliver the best possible long-term, sustainable investment returns to our more than 800,000 members; as a responsible owner, we believe we can do this while being a genuine force for good in our community.

“Investments such as Sydney Light Rail are wonderful examples of just how we can unlock the potential of our members’ retirement savings to not only deliver great returns but, support vital social infrastructure as well.’

First State Super has a 62.5 per cent stake in the new Sydney Light Rail as part of the ALTRAC consortium.

TelstraSuper announces new group insurance provider

TelstraSuper has announced the appointment of MLC Life Insurance (a member of the Nippon Life Group of Companies) as its new group insurance partner, effective on 1 July 2020.

TelstraSuper’s CEO, Chris Davies, said that TelstraSuper was continuously reviewing its products and services to better serve the evolving needs of its members. “Insurance is an important component of Superannuation and we want to ensure our members get the best possible outcome. As a profit for member fund we constantly look at increasing value for our members,” Davies said.

AMP cuts fees across its super products

AMP has announced a series of fee reductions, benefiting approximately 500,000 AMP superannuation clients.

The investment fee reductions will provide savings for clients across AMP’s MySuper, choice, and cash and term deposit products.

Lara Bourguignon, AMP’s managing director superannuation, retirement & platforms, said:

“The fee cuts form part of AMP’s major program to simplify our superannuation and wrap platform businesses, which will see a significant reduction of super products and enable us to provide more benefits to clients.”

Oxfam says it’s time for a fairer Australia

Oxfam has revealed ahead of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the richest 1 per cent of Australians have more than double the wealth of the entire bottom 50 per cent – or more than 12.5 million people.

Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgain said the top 1 per cent of Australians, just 250,000 people, owned nearly USD $1.6 trillion – equating to 22.2 per cent of the nation’s wealth, demonstrating Australia’s economic inequality.

Morgain said: “At a global level, inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast, often affecting women and girls the most.”

Oxfam has calculated that developing countries lose an estimated USD $100 billion a year in tax revenue as a result of tax avoidance by multinational corporations – money that could fund much needed public services like schools, hospitals and other social services.

Morgain said one way to achieve this is for the Federal Government to crack down on unconscionable corporate tax avoidance.

The Australian Tax Office estimated that in 2016-17, large corporations avoided paying $2 billion in taxes – the same amount as the entire National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Local Government Super and J.P. Morgan partnership continues

Local Government Super (LGS) has announced that following a formal open-market tender process, it has signed a five-year contract extension with J.P. Morgan to continue to provide custody services.

J.P. Morgan has been providing custody services for LGS since 2003; however, significant growth and structural change to LGS’ offerings prompted management to conduct an independent tender process to assess the offerings in the market.

LGS CEO Phil Stockwell said he was pleased to announce a five-year extension to LGS’ long and supportive partnership with J.P. Morgan.