A focus on strong performance
Money magazine’s Best Retirement Innovator 20232
Anne Fuchs has taken the reins as Australian Retirement Trust Head of Advice. Anne led advice and retirement at Sunsuper for seven years and has held roles at the Association of Financial Advisers, BT Funds Management, RetireInvest and Colonial First State. She is also a director on the board of Teachers Union Health. Here, Anne explains her goals and what drives her in providing ART members with access to quality, affordable financial advice to help you live your best retirement.
Q: Can you describe your role with Australian Retirement Trust and what you will be aiming to deliver for members?
A: The team and I have the important job of getting more financial advice to more members because we know that when that happens, it helps members achieve the best possible outcomes at the end of their working life. We provide digital advice to our Queensland Government employees, intra-fund advice over the phone to all our members about their account/s with Australian Retirement Trust, and also support external financial advisers who provide comprehensive advice services to their clients, our members.
Q: You have a background as a leader in the financial services industry. What does that mean you will bring to the role in terms of experience and perspective?
A: Lots of history, relationships and deep industry knowledge in superannuation, funds management and financial advice. I joined the industry in 1997 with Bankers Trust New York and have seen an incredible amount of change since that time. All of those changes have ultimately led to more consumer empowerment, greater transparency and integrity in the sector and the democratisation of wealth, all of which is great to see.
Q: What drives you?
A: What drives me is the spirit of what superannuation is and what it intended to achieve when it was first established – dignity for all Australians at the end of their working life. I have always reflected, as someone in this industry, that it’s easy to give advice to someone who is already wealthy, but to do this for people who wouldn’t have accumulated a nest egg without superannuation is a privilege and an honour.
Q: What do you believe women bring to leadership roles?
A: It goes without saying that women are all different in terms of personality and leadership style. With that in mind, the one thing I think we excel in is inclusivity and inviting those voices that may not be often heard. Over my years I have seen time and again the ‘‘boys club’’ at play where decision making is closed within the club, and it can lead to ‘‘group think’’ and unconscious bias. Women in leadership are highly effective in breaking this construct down, which ultimately drives more successful and profitable businesses, as recently proven in an S&P study of companies run by female CEOs.
Q: How do you see progress being made in equality for women?
A: Quotas are an important start, though I believe these gender quotas should be overlayed with a broader definition of diversity and include cognitive style, socio-economic background, ethnicity, values, and all those things that make us different. I also reflect though that we have a long way to go and in particular I continue to be disappointed by the different standards that are applied to women in the court of public opinion that is frequently played out in the media.
Q: How do you see improvements occurring in women’s financial literacy and financial wellbeing?
A: I am a strong advocate of introducing financial literacy into the curriculum at school to educate and empower all young people, especially young women who are living in a society that is much more superficial and consumer-driven than it was in my younger years. We need to educate young women that it is OK to spoil yourself from time to time, but the risks of a buy now and pay later culture can lead to a vicious cycle later in life that ultimately may see women trapped in a bad situation. If we overlay this emerging problem with entrenched pay inequality and rising insecure work, there are some real structural societal problems we need to face. We will need many great minds to solve these crucially important challenges.
Q: What is your key measure of success?
A: Happy members and advisers. Happy team members. Happy family (I have a husband, three teenagers and a very handsome dog called Larry). For me, success is being surrounded by laughter, joy and humour. It is when those around me are caring and looking out for each other, and even having a sing or dance together. Superannuation is a serious business, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. We spend so much time at work it is crucial we embrace it.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future?
A: Serving a broader group of members and providing them with more opportunities to get some financial advice. Getting to know all my new team members. I am especially looking forward to real and impactful policy changes to advance the cause of women, including proper financial recognition for our caring professions.
Find out more about your financial advice options with Australian Retirement Trust
Super Savings account
QSuper and Sunsuper have officially merged to create one of Australia’s largest super funds. Find out the key details.
Acting CEO and CIO Charles Woodhouse explains how QSuper has acted on behalf of our members.
Our Investments team explain how they managed members’ money during the past financial year
A super fund’s long-term performance is important to a member’s retirement