The current round of hearings at the royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry has been notable on many levels. Thus far, the much anticipated grilling of the industry super funds has been a fizzer for their critics.
Ian Silk, who has been chief executive officer of the largest industry fund, the A$140 billion AusSuper, since 2006, was unruffled in his time in the witness box, in stark contrast to the caning given to NAB’s super fund trustees who preceded him.
Likewise, for David Elia, the CEO of hospitality and tourism industry fund Hostplus, a position he has held since 2003. He said that as of July this year, Hostplus had $34.5 billion funds under management on behalf of just over 1.1 million members, many of them very young, in part-time entry level casual employment.
Elia took the first opportunity he was given to remind the commission how, despite needing to consider the cohort of disengaged youngsters whose money his fund was managing, it has nevertheless thrived, with the Hostplus MySuper product ranked as the best performing fund, net of investment fees and tax over one, three, five, seven, 15 and 20 years.
What was notable?
Unlike their for-profit counterparts, two of the country’s largest and most influential super funds were represented by their chief executives, both of whom could claim long-term outperformance over their tenures.
Neither of them obfuscated or tried to hide behind weasel words. And they couldn’t – and didn’t – trot out the excuse so often used by their banking counterparts that they weren’t in the job at the time, or weren’t told anything, when (insert allegation of poor behaviour or regulatory breach here) occurred.
On the evidence so far, the industry funds’ CEOs have not left themselves open to the same allegations of bad behaviour and putting their members last that have so damaged the rest of the financial services sector.
Their banking CEO counterparts will soon get their respective days in the spotlight.
The excellent, but paywalled original is here.