THE CONEXUS INSTITUTE

The Conexus Institute was established to be a catalyst for improved retirement outcomes for Australians. The Conexus Institute applies a “research-for-impact” model to produce high quality research which is used to showcase the benefits of change.

New Research

The Government’s Your Super, Your Future (YFYS) performance test will have unintended negative consequences on the investment strategies of many super funds. Explore the latest research by our YFYS working group.

Recent Thinking

Opening statement by David Bell to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.

Opening statement by David Bell to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.
7 April 2021

Award super reform by another name

At first glance Your Future, Your Super appears very strange policy design from a conservative coalition government, which leads me to ponder whether reform of the award super process itself is the longer game at play.
21 March 2021

Additional indices won’t fix the YFYS performance test

There is a school of thought that adding a couple of extra indices to the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) performance test will fix the bulk of its shortcomings. Sadly, this is incorrect.
17 March 2021

Follow the science

“Follow the science” is a phrase commonly used to encourage evidence-based decision-making. Frequently associated with topics such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is just as applicable to superannuation.
7 March 2021

‘Rough justice’: Will this be our standard?

‘Rough justice’ is a term being used by some in support of the Your Future, Your Super performance test. In a nutshell the line of thinking seems to run as follows: if the status quo is viewed as poor (in this case, an expensive industry with lots of agency issues), the policy intent is good (protect consumers from underperforming funds) and the expected outcome appears reasonable (industry consolidation via the removal of underperforming funds), then the policy justifies a few funds inadvertently being treated unfairly. In this context ‘rough justice’ sounds reasonable and readily fits the populist, slogan-driven environment in which we find ourselves. But this isn’t the standard we want to set.
14 February 2021

Ralston and Warren join The Conexus Institute advisory board

The Conexus Institute has celebrated its first anniversary and expanded its advisory board to include Dr Deborah Ralston and Associate Professor Geoff Warren.
11 February 2021

How the performance test could be tougher

For all the talk about the severity of the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) performance test, it could have been set much tougher. In some areas the industry has been given a free ride. This adds to the catalogue of issues attached to the controversial policy measure.
21 January 2021

Accountability the next step in ESG

In October last year Marisa Hall painted a compelling challenge to asset managers of all types: adopt system-level thinking to create a more sustainable world. She painted a pathway for how this could be achieved, with culture and measurement key enablers. However, I found myself pondering the role of government policy as enabler or inhibitor.
21 January 2021

UNSW Sandbox Program highlights challenges of providing quality, scalable guidance

A student project to improve the richness of information in retirement estimates provided under ASIC’s class order relief inadvertently highlighted the many challenges faced by industry, policymakers, and regulators as they seek to make quality guidance accessible to the broad population. The trade-off between tailoring information to be more relevant for people pulls against the desire for such information to be accessible at low cost.
18 January 2021

Visibility risk: Brand and marketing oversight to bite

In an environment where fund visibility will be more important than ever, superannuation schemes will need to think deeply about how they promote themselves and their brands to potential new and existing members.
18 January 2021

Three reasons why super performance test fails

This year’s Budget included the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) reform package, which will have a significant impact on superannuation. One reform, a performance test, has proven highly controversial. A performance test sounds like good policy to protect consumers, so why is it proving so controversial?
9 December 2020

Retirement Review gives strong views on hoarding of super

The Review didn’t just explore this issue: it was probably the most significant finding: households not spending down their capital in retirement is one of the greatest sources of inefficiency in Australia’s retirement system.
25 November 2020

Performance test will produce ‘zombie funds’, experts say

A group of asset consultants and researchers have asked Treasury and policy makers to consider the possibility that “zombie funds” could be created as one by-product of the government’s new performance test. Further, the group has said that future consolidation among superannuation funds could be stalled if the performance test is implemented as planned in 2021 in its current form.
25 November 2020

Retirement Income Review: Simplifying the complex

The Retirement Income Review has achieved many things. It has managed to make a complex system understandable. It used strong principles as its guide. It has achieved its mandate of establishing a fact base while leaving some clear policy direction, all without making any recommendations. Well done to those involved, especially Carolyn Kay, Deborah Ralston and Michael Callaghan.
23 November 2020

Good engagement creates better policy

In combination, complexity and subjectivity form a difficult starting point for effective policy design and it’s my experience that superannuation and retirement are both highly complex and subjective areas.
21 October 2020

Research and submissions

Your Future, Your Super

A review of the YFYS performance test, identifying that the performance test will, in many cases, be ineffective at identifying poor performing funds, while creating a range of undesirable outcomes.

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Leading an industry working group to develop a standardised approach

UNSW Business School’s Sandbox Program

UNSW’s Business School’s Sandbox Program aims to introduce students to industry projects as part of their coursework program.

Celebrating our collaborators

Ian Fryer

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Debbie Alliston

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Kirby Rappell

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Tim Jenkins

Early access to super

Scott Tully

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Super Consumers Australia

Early access to super

Luke Zhou

Retirement income review submission

Tim Macready

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Estelle Liu

Early access to super

Xavier O’Halloran

Early access to super

Actuaries Institute

Early access to super

Carol Lee

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Annabelle Tian

Retirement income review submission

Anna Shelley

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Eleanor Barz

Early access to super

Reece Zachariah

Exploring portfolios with illiquid assets

Kevin Liu

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Yenni Tim

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Estelle Liu

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Xavier O’Halloran

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Matthias Oldham

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Nick Callil

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Tim Unger

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Emily Barlow

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Clayton Sills

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Kim Bowater

Your Future, Your Super performance test

David Carruthers

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Nick Griffith

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Andrew Boal

Your Future, Your Super performance test

Stefano Cavaglia

Exploring portfolios with illiquid assets

Interested in collaborating?

Current projects

Illiquidity – governance, risk and portfolio management resources

Developing a suite of tools, guides and case studies to assist super funds achieve best practice

A better retirement for all Australians

We are currently undertaking early-stage research to develop our vision of a great retirement system

Exploring Big Ideas

Episode 1: Jane Hume

Ongoing micro-reforms, decumulation solutions, fintech and an end to ideological wars are highlights among the ideas Senator Jane Hume has for improving Australia’s retirement system, many of which can be described as micro-reforms which may disappoint those looking for a single silver bullet big idea.

Episode 2: Jeremy Cooper

The man who has shaped the architecture of Australia’s accumulation system sees great opportunity for further system improvement, challenges industry to illustrate the value of engagement, and questions whether tax incentives on super contributions should remain as strong if consumers are not drawing down on their capital in the retirement phase.

Episode 3: Marisa Hall

Pension funds need a generation of investment professionals that are willing to be brave and less conservative than their predecessors if they are to move to the systems level perspectives on investment that is required for better returns and societal outcomes, according to the co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, Marisa Hall.

Episode 4: David Knox

Middle income earners are most disadvantaged by the superannuation system, Mercer’s senior partner David Knox highlighted during an interview in which he pitched the concept of a universal pension for all Australians regardless of how wealthy they are or how much they earn.

Meet our team

Colin Tate

Chair

David Bell

Executive Director

Hazel Bateman

Marisa Broome

Gregory Cooper

Jeremy Cooper

Ian Fryer

Pamela Hanrahan

David Knox

Xavier O'Holloran

Kevin O'Sullivan

Deborah Ralston

Nicolette Rubinsztein

Geoff Warren

Amanda White