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.

Thought Pieces

Geoff Warren and David Bell collaborate to explain the likely choice architecture for retirees and within this consider how to ensure that all retirees find their way to suitable retirement solutions.

Watch on Demand

Hear from expert panellists Deborah Ralston, Pamela Hanrahan and Geoff Warren discussing the current changes to the superannuation industry with The Conexus Institute’s Executive Director, David Bell, in this special Exploring Big Ideas episode: The Pathway to Retirement Solutions.

Recent Thinking

Ensuring all retirees find a suitable retirement solution

Geoff Warren and David Bell collaborate to explain the likely choice architecture for retirees and within this consider how to ensure that all retirees find their way to suitable retirement solutions.
23 July 2021

YFYS: Next steps are crucial

The Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) reforms have been passed. There has been passion, research, controversy and lobbying aplenty. Overall we think consumers will benefit. The degree of benefit will depend on what happens next. The next steps taken by policymakers, regulators and fund trustees will weigh heavily on consumer outcomes, and ultimately determine the success of YFYS.
20 June 2021

YFYS and distinguishing forest from trees

There is so much written about investment behavioural biases, but there probably needs to be more written about behavioural biases relating to policy assessment. I’m sure I’ve fallen victim to these biases many times.
31 May 2021

Consumers will lose if stapling is not introduced

One-in-four people have more than one super account. These people pay at least two lots of administration fees and potentially have distorted insurance arrangements. Multiple account arrangements generally occur when employees switch employers. A policy is required only because industry has failed to develop a solution.
30 May 2021

YFYS – good improvement, but more is possible

The announced changes to the YFYS performance test are positive for consumers. The inclusion of admin fees transforms the performance test into a consumer outcome test, while including additional unlisted asset indices means the test won’t overly constrain funds from constructing portfolios in members’ best interests.
9 May 2021

Fact checking retirement savings analysis

ASFA has cast doubt around claims made in the Retirement Income Review (RIR) that many people are not spending down their retirement savings, being too frugal and preserving large account balances which are ultimately bequeathed. Here I present some basic modelling which further endorses the findings of the RIR while emphasising the need for better retirement solutions.
5 May 2021

Advisers face an avalanche of super fund retirement products

Soon every super fund will have to provide a retirement solution to their members which sits alongside their existing account-based pension offerings. The impact on the financial advice sector will be significant.
30 April 2021

Whose best interests?

I don’t always agree with Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, but his observation during this week’s Senate hearing that forcing representative bodies to merge would be a good way to reduce costs to super funds and members was a good one.
11 April 2021

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

Consumers need an effective super performance test

The Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) reforms are designed to improve outcomes for superannuants, which is nearly all of us. The reform package is undoubtedly well-intended. Therefore it is critical that it achieves its intended purpose. This has been our focus when we have reviewed one of the most important reform measures, an investment performance test.
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

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

Matthew 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 AM

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