Aussie Super struts its stuff at Morningstar awards


by Greg Bright

This is a sign of the times. Australian Super, the country’s biggest super fund, a not-for-profit and a bellwether fund for all others, was a finalist in the Morningstar annual fund management awards last Friday night.

It didn’t win its main category – Fund Manager of the Year, which went to Kerr Neilson – but it was a finalist. However, it did win the other category in which it was a finalist – the “Multi-Sector” Award. The point is: big super funds are becoming fund managers. And they are operating at the wholesale and retail level.

Stephen Fallet, Aussie Super’s manager of investment communications, said at the awards function, attended by about 200 industry people, that the award nomination reflected a lot of work that the fund had been doing.

He said that about 60 per cent of the fund’s investments were still outsourced. Aussie Super’s senior executives have said for the past several years that they see the external managers as remaining an important part of the fund’s investment program for a long time.

In a way, Australian Super, was the biggest winner, for the “Multi-Sector” category. A few years ago, one would not have thought that a big not-for-profit super fund would be in contention for a wholesale funds management award by a ratings agency like Morningstar.

Fallet was able to congratulate, for instance, Western Asset, a Legg Mason affiliate, for winning the fixed interest category, because Western Asset is one of its managers.

“What we want to do is deliver the best results for members,” he said. Difficult to argue with that.

Platinum was awarded the ‘Fund Manager of the Year’ and the international fund manager of the year. And the other winners included: Western Asset, Lazard, Capital Group and Fidelity.