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THE CONEXUS INSTITUTE

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 review creates ‘red pill or blue pill’ moment for industry

The concept of a single-metric, backwards-looking performance test implemented retrospectively is deeply flawed, and the current Treasury review is an opportunity to design a better performance test with better outcomes for members.
1 May 2024

Size and flow dispersion motivates fund-specific investment models in Oz

Recent research by The Conexus Institute identifies significant dispersion in the operating environment for Australia’s superannuation funds. This impacts aspects of fund investment models including internalisation, private assets and offshore investment teams.
30 April 2024

Australia pensions special: Pot for life – a model for the UK?

Australia’s policy of stapling workers to their first workplace pension scheme for life bears many of the characteristics of the lifetime model floated by the UK government. The Australian market is evolving and this impacts the role of the employer.
26 April 2024

Super funds and experts at odds over heavily gamed YFYS performance test

A growing number of funds have warmed to the status quo after tweaking their strategic asset allocation to make sure they don't fail. However, a number of academics and researchers argue that the current test is not in members' best interests.
20 April 2024

Annual superannuation performance test – design options

Submission to Treasury on design options for the annual superannuation performance test. Proposes a three-metric test for all multi-asset portfolios, with the need to pass at least two of the three metrics
19 April 2024

‘No easy answers’, but YFYS review starts asking the right questions

Initial industry reflections on the Your Future, Your Super consultation paper. The paper explores design options for the annual performance test.
13 March 2024

Bold changes needed before retirement flaws are entrenched

The retirement industry is currently operating in a kind of purgatory where business, policy and regulatory challenges are holding back the provision of good retirement outcomes for all retirees.
12 March 2024

‘Heavy-handed’ rules needed to force super funds to help retirees

Calls for a package of policy and regulatory solutions to address three major problems (weak competition, difficulties for many retirees to engage and make effective choices, and business case challenges for super funds).
3 March 2024

Improving consumer experiences, choice, and outcomes in Australia’s retirement system

Submission to Senate Economics References Committee. The submission by the Conexus Institute focuses on four of the matters listed in the Terms of Reference (TOR) where we believe that we can assist the Committee in their deliberations.
23 February 2024

Legislating the objective of super

Submission to Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The Conexus Institute supports the legislation of an objective of superannuation and the objective detailed in the Superannuation (Objective) Bill of 2023.
9 February 2024

Superannuation in retirement

Submission to Treasury by the Conexus Institute. At the foundation of this submission is a series of 13 essays that explore topics of potential interest to policymakers and put forward recommendations for consideration.
9 February 2024

Why we need to test retirement products

Super Consumers Australia says retirees deserve some peace of mind on whether their fund is doing a good job managing their retirement income.
25 January 2024

Industry funds dominate fund inflows: Conexus

Australia’s biggest industry funds, AustralianSuper and Australian Retirement Trust, are dominating super fund inflows, while private sector players AMP, Insignia, Colonial First State and BT have been losing funds, according to a new report by the Conexus Institute.
24 January 2024

Cross-subsidisation challenge may hinder RIC progress

All super funds are being called on by the government and regulator to make more progress on providing retirement income solutions to members.
24 January 2024

ESG super funds punch above weight for net flows and assets

Research from The Conexus Institute finds while a handful of big profit-for-member funds rank well for both assets and growth, ESG-focused funds Australian Ethical and Future Super stand out for attracting above-system flows.
23 January 2024

AustralianSuper’s lead on fund flows moderates

In FY23, the top eight funds, led by AustralianSuper, took 80% of natural flows. AustralianSuper saw a $9 billion switch, down from $14.5 billion. APRA data shows a broader market slowdown in switching.
19 January 2024

Mega-funds increase market share in another year of consolidation

In the first of a series of articles analysing the latest APRA superannuation asset data, The Conexus Institute conclude that the eight largest profit-for-member funds increased their market share in FY23 by about 2 per cent. Meanwhile, the merged Care Super/Spirit Super looks set to be inducted into the so-called “big fund club”.
18 January 2024

Why the retirement challenge requires its own investment team

As members shift from saving to spending in their super, investment teams will likely face new demands. Different retirement goals may require separate portfolios and managers. Aware Super and TelstraSuper shared their strategies.
19 December 2023

Retirement advice a key differentiator for super funds

Australia’s biggest super funds are quietly plotting their path into playing a bigger role in financial advice, committing to more personalisation and better education to help build retirement confidence among members alongside advisers.
13 December 2023

Australia’s New Investment Performance Test for Super Funds

13 December 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