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QSuper’s CIO, Brad Holzberger, explains the value of the Annual Investment Update as a forum to bring members and their Fund together.
A new financial year has started and that means several things for QSuper’s investment team, including preparing for the upcoming Annual Investment Update.
The Investment Update will be kicking off in August and be held across Brisbane, as well as in major regional cities such as Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns.
As a profit-for-member fund, the Investment Update sessions are invaluable for those of us who work at QSuper as they are the forum for meeting the people we serve, the Fund’s members.
For us, they’re as important as annual general meetings for shareholders of companies like BHP or Telstra or Apple.
On a day-to-day basis, our Investment team monitors global markets and keeps a close eye on assets owned on members’ behalf across the globe.
Doing this with diligence and care means there’s always some risk of us becoming a little remote from issues that matter to members.
Engaging with members face-to-face sweeps away such risks, and grounds our work. It reinforces the fact that we work for members. As a member, you are our sole focus.
My observation of Investment Updates over the years is that members always ask insightful questions, showing that they are careful stewards of their retirement savings.
In fact, it was an Annual Investment Update back in 2009, during the thick of the GFC that I had “light bulb moment” that spurred my investment team colleagues and I to approach investment issues with a clean sheet of paper.
Like most other super funds at that time, we measured investment performance by how QSuper funds performed against other super funds. That was the wrong yardstick, but we didn’t quite know it then.
Well, the lightbulb came in the course of my presentation to members that year when I put up a chart showing that QSuper’s Balanced option had a negative return for the year, but still a better return than many of our competitors.
In other words, we outperformed, relative to many competitors and compared to the share market.
A member responded by making the observation that how QSuper performed against other super funds didn’t matter to him. He didn’t have money with others. Only with QSuper, so those kinds of relative return comparisons were meaningless. He was, of course, right.
That motivated the Investment team to develop a different investment approach with different strategies and measures of success that were better aligned to our members’ financial wellbeing. Not comparisons with other super funds or share markets.
The upshot is that we developed and rolled-out from 2010/11 the risk-balanced investment strategy that aims to deliver strong returns, but with fewer ups and downs than the previous conventional approach.
Ten years on from the GFC the runs are on the board and we seem to be on the right track as members have indeed received good returns with fewer risks, and fewer ups and downs.
None of this might have occurred without the kind of feedback received from the Annual Investment Update a decade ago.
If you are considering whether or not to attend the Investment Update, please do. My colleagues and I look forward to meeting members again and learning more of what matters to you.
It’s your opportunity to hear first-hand from senior members of the QSuper investments team.
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board. We’ve put this information together as general information only and you should get professional advice before relying on this information. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
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