The winners of the Chant West | Conexus Financial Super Fund Awards were announced last night in a ceremony at Ivy Ballroom in Sydney, with more than 300 guests in attendance.
Awards were handed out across 10 categories, with the night’s biggest award going to REST for Super Fund of the Year, which was presented by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a pre-recorded video message.
In the announcement, Abbott said: “With our national super nest egg totalling over $1.8 trillion it is vital that superannuation funds be administered with prudence, integrity and foresight. Tonight’s awards acknowledge the managers and the funds that excel in the management of our retirement savings.
“The 2014 super fund of the year has been judged by the best of the best. I congratulate REST Industry Super on winning this prestigious award. I also congratulate Conexus Financial and Chant West for the commitment you have shown to these annual awards.”
REST was one of three funds shortlisted for the fund of the year, the other nominees chosen by Chant West were AustralianSuper and Telstra.
REST drew praise for the quality of its investment committee which includes Ken Marshman, John Nolan and Stephen Carew from JANA and a “very experienced” internal investment team led by George Zielinski.
REST’s move to redesign its insurance cover as early as 2008 limiting TPD access and increasing death and income protection cover through life stages was seen by Warren Chant director of Chant West as a move likely to be followed by other funds.
In the night’s other most prestigious award QSuper was named as Pension Fund of the Year for the second year running.
QSuper drew praise from Chant West for its pension conversion rate of 90 per cent, for the popularity and success of its two day pre-retirement seminars and its extensive financial advice services.
The full list of winners:
Super fund of the year: REST
Pension fund of the year: QSuper
Corporate solutions fund of the year: Plum Superannuation Fund
Advised product of the year: Colonial First State, FirstChoice Wholesale Super
Asset consultant of the year: JANA Investment Advisers
Best fund: investments: AustralianSuper
Best fund: innovation: Mercer Super Trust
Best fund: member services: Sunsuper
Best fund: longevity product: Challenger Liquid Lifetime Annuity
Best fund: integrity: Russell SuperSolution
The awards were sponsored by Vanguard.
John James, managing director of Vanguard Investments Australia, said: “We are really proud to partner with Conexus Financial and Chant West. For us this is the pinnacle of recognising excellence in the superannuation and retirement industry. We do not do this very often because we are a mutually owned company and this is our clients’ money, but when it comes to recognising excellence we think it is critical for the end investor.”