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The Conexus Institute was established as an independent think tank focused on improving retirement outcomes for Australian consumers. The Conexus Institute applies a “research-for-impact” model to produce high quality, often collaborative, research which is used to assist industry, regulators and policymakers.

Recent releases

Recent Thinking

YFYS retirement test could be on the cards

Margaret Cole, deputy chair of APRA, has made clear the prudential regulator is satisfied that the Your Future Your Super performance test is having its intended impact.
31 October 2023

How super saved Australia from becoming a ‘banana republic’

When superannuation was just a twinkle in the eye of Treasurer Paul Keating, in the years after the floating of the dollar, the Australian economy was vulnerable to sharp swings in global capital flows.
26 October 2023

Why influence will shift in super funds

The CIO Is still considered the shot caller, but the fundamental changes that the super system is experiencing means funds could adopt a more diffuse operational model and power will shift away from the “masters of the universe”.
26 October 2023

There’s much more to governance of unlisted assets than valuation

Unlisted assets can enhance super fund portfolios. Benefits include access to a broader opportunity set that affords better diversification and more return-seeking opportunities. Excellent governance is the entry ticket to these opportunities.
16 October 2023

Advisers have all the ingredients to provide the crème de la crème of retirement advice

Financial advisers shouldn’t feel that super funds moving into retirement advice will outflank them. Advisers will survive, and likely prosper, as they have all the ingredients to provide the crème de la crème of retirement advice.
11 October 2023

Four steps for super funds to meet the retirement challenge

To adopt best practice in retirement, super funds need to make it a top priority, resolve their organisational structure, implement strong executive-level leadership and consider the creation of a retirement committee.
21 September 2023

New arguments in the great valuation debate

More regulatory pressure on valuation practices means big funds run the risk of missing out on deals. But with Australia now at the forefront of defined contribution pensions, should GPs get with the program?
15 September 2023

The chosen paths: Directing members into retirement solutions

There are five possible pathways to retirement solutions, but only two are in place with the missing pathways all involving some form of trustee direction. Trustees will be pivotal in helping provide straightforward solutions to members who are disengaged or unprepared to pay for financial advice, leaving independent advisers to deal with those who want a comprehensive and highly personalised solution.
12 September 2023

Retirement Conference 2023 – Review & Reflections

Review and reflections from the 2023 Retirement Conference, co-hosted by The Conexus Institute and Conexus Financial. By David Bell and Geoff Warren.
25 August 2023

Treasury to probe retirement as intergenerational report drops

Treasurer Jim Chalmers is expected to kick off a public consultation about retirement income settings, as the landmark intergenerational report shows superannuation will take significant pressure off the age pension over the next four decades.
24 August 2023

Roadblocks remain for funds to meet growing retirement expectations

The 2023 Retirement Conference, a joint initiative of the Conexus Institute and Conexus Financial, showcased an industry that is moving forward on retirement, but is being directed to do more.
18 August 2023

Big super’s move overseas sparks hiring blitz

Australia’s biggest super funds are on an overseas hiring blitz in a bid to reduce expensive external management fees and get in on lucrative private equity and infrastructure deals earlier, as the $3.5 trillion sector outgrows local markets. Quotes Geoff Warren on scale effects.
24 July 2023

Industry and regulators get to grips with scale of the retirement income challenge

APRA and ASIC’s joint thematic review into how super funds have gone about implementing the Retirement Income Covenant (RIC) reveals insights into the challenge faced by the entire superannuation ecosystem, including industry, regulators and policymakers.
20 July 2023

Drop the ‘size is good’ mantra: bigger isn’t automatically better

Size is “not an automatic win” for superannuation funds and comes with significant disadvantages and challenges, according to Geoff Warren, director of research at The Conexus Institute, challenging prevailing wisdom that greater scale necessarily delivers better outcomes for members.
2 July 2023

The topsy turvy world of retirement advice and guidance

Retirement plans provided by financial advisers should be superior to those provided at scale by super funds. The comprehensiveness of the advice service provided by planners means they can account for the personal circumstances and needs of their clients and provide a more holistic solution.
30 June 2023

How do you assess if a retirement solution is any good?

Super funds are required to develop retirement income strategies that deliver income over a retirement that may span decades. Waiting to see what happens is not going to work as an assessment technique. So how might you establish if a solution is any good?
22 June 2023

Significant challenges in assessing retirement income strategies

Explores approaches to quantitative assessment of retirement income strategies, based off research paper by David Bell and Geoff Warren.
22 June 2023

How to Approach Quantitative Assessment of Retirement Income Strategies

This paper explores how quantitative assessment may be undertaken, supported by illustrative examples, to enhance the design and assessment of retirement income strategies.
20 June 2023

What does it take to succeed at scale?

As Australian superannuation funds evolve and get bigger they face a question of whether to copy the organisational structures of their bigger, more sophisticated Canadian counterparts, or find their own way that more adequately befits some of their unique features and better serves members. Amanda White looks at the Australian superannuation market evolution and what it can learn from Canada.
18 May 2023

Are bigger super funds better? Actually no, despite what the industry is doing

Underpinning consolidation in the super industry is the idea that larger scale is beneficial for superannuation fund members. But that’s not necessarily true. A bigger fund is no guarantee of better returns, writes Geoff Warren.
15 May 2023

Research and submissions

Pathway to Better Retirement Outcomes

This will be an active area of research and advocacy for The Conexus Institute. Our work program will likely entail a range of research projects.

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.

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 2020/2021

Yenni Tim

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Estelle Liu

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020

Xavier O’Halloran

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020/2021

Matthias Oldham

UNSW Sandbox Program 2020/2021

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

Leigh Gavin

Growth / defensive asset categorisation

Lisa Carroll

Exploring portfolios with illiquid assets

Sandi Orleow

Exploring portfolios with illiquid assets

Pamela Hanrahan

Retirement transition support that is safe by design

Geoff Warren

Ensuring all retirees find a suitable retirement solution

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.

Episode 5: The Pathway to Retirement Solutions

Expert panellists Deborah Ralston, Pamela Hanrahan and Geoff Warren discussed 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.

Webinar recording:
Your Future Your Super: One year on

The first anniversary of the contentious Your Future, Your Super reforms provided the perfect opportunity for reflection.

This webinar took place on 23 June 2022.



Webinar recording:
The Super Guarantee: 30-Year anniversary

The panel reflected on the origins and benefits of the SG, and considered the challenges ahead for superannuation and retirement income policy.

This webinar took place on 30 June 2022.

Meet our team

Colin Tate AM

Founder and adviser

Jeremy Cooper

Chair of advisory board

David Bell

Executive director

Hazel Bateman

Marisa Broome

Aleks Vickovich

Ian Fryer

Pamela Hanrahan

David Knox

Xavier O'Halloran

Kevin O'Sullivan

Deborah Ralston

Nicolette Rubinsztein

Geoff Warren