On May 4, Chant West will present its fourth annual awards at a black-tie function at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. The awards recognise the cream of Australia's superannuation and pension funds.

On May 4, Chant West will present its fourth annual awards at a black-tie function at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. The awards recognise the cream of Australia's superannuation and pension funds.

The 12 award categories are:

  • Super Fund of the Year
  • Pension Fund of the Year
  • Specialist Fund of the Year
  • Corporate Solutions Fund of the Year
  • Advised Product of the Year
  • Asset Consultant of the Year
  • Best Fund: Investments
  • Best Fund: Member Services
  • Best Fund: Insurance
  • Best Fund: Innovation
  • Best Fund: Integrity
  • Best Fund: Longevity Product

Once again, Chant West will apply its deep industry knowledge and expertise to give public recognition to high achievement and excellence in the superannuation industry.

Chant West director, Warren Chant, says: "The aim of these awards is to help lift standards across the board, and we do that by highlighting what the finalists – and especially the winners – have done to stand out from their peers. Ultimately, the people who will benefit most are individual fund members who will achieve better outcomes from their super.

"Choosing the best funds is difficult because in each category there are always a handful that could be deserved winners. What we try to do each year is identify key themes that are shaping funds' behaviour and then identify those that have responded best to those themes. The themes we have identified this year are in the areas of investment, member services and insurance.

"Our first theme is common to all funds and it is: How to respond to a low growth, high volatility environment that looks like it may persist for several years. Funds need to anticipate the possibility that they may fall short of their risk and return targets over the next few years. So, apart from dealing with the pure investment challenges, they also need to think about managing their members' expectations so as to avoid disenchantment.

"Still on the subject of investment, our second theme is to do with the inevitable growth of the superannuation asset pool. Even if we're in for a period of low returns, the continuing flow of mandated contributions is expected to double the total funds under management over the next five years. For the larger funds, in particular, what challenges and opportunities arise as a result of their ever-increasing scale?

"Our third theme concerns member communications, and in particular how funds can better engage with their members using digital media. The better funds are those that put themselves 'in the shoes' of their members. They talk to them in ways they can relate to about how to progress from where they are now to achieving at least an adequate retirement income. Technology has opened up great opportunities to communicate in ways that are second nature to certain demographic groups, and making good use of those new channels can dramatically improve the relationship between funds and their members.

"Finally, to our insurance theme. Group insurance has been transformed in recent years. It's no longer a standard commodity to be bought at the lowest price. Instead, funds now have the opportunity to manage the trade-off between premium levels, the adequacy and relevance of insured benefits and the conditions that apply to them. The aim is to provide value for money, and to ensure that benefits go to the people who really need them. As part of the re-think of insurance, some funds are becoming more proactive in identifying potential claims and taking steps to intervene in the process, such as providing rehabilitation and retraining services."

The main criteria we use for rating funds are shown in the table below. As in previous years, the winner of our premier award, Super Fund of the Year, will have to show strength across the board, but especially in the key areas of Investments and Member Services, which carry the highest weighting in the scoring process.

To book a table or single ticket go to www.chantwestawards.com.au

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