After 15 years of dedicated service, Qantas Super is bidding farewell to Board directors Anne Ward and John Sipek.

Chairman Anne Ward

Compulsory superannuation was just over 10 years old when our outgoing Chairman, Anne Ward first joined the Qantas Super Board of Directors in 2004.

It was a fragmented industry at the time, but with the size of the super savings pool steadily growing and funds themselves getting bigger, it was clear more regulation would be coming. With decades of experience in the areas of regulatory and commercial law, Anne felt she could help the fund navigate the coming changes.

15 years on, with Anne serving for 14 as Chairman of the Board, both the super landscape and Qantas Super itself have indeed seen a multitude of changes.

Qantas Super was, in 2004, effectively run as a division of Qantas Airways itself by a general manager and a small team.

“We were a bit out of the mainstream and lost in the shadows for a while. But it was a great fund, with really motivated people, and lots of opportunity,” Anne said.

With that in mind, one of Anne’s proudest achievements during her time on the Board has been helping the fund harness that opportunity and become “functionally independent”, where “it’s part of the Qantas group, but can stand on its own two feet and meet the legal requirements for running a contemporary superannuation fund ”.

Anne explained, “Myriad little things went into that, to achieve the position that you see now where it’s an integral part of Qantas but has its own identity and its own autonomy…that’s the big journey that the fund has been on.”

Key steps on this 15 year journey have included appointing a CEO and Chief Investment Officer, outsourcing administration and insurance, and building risk management and governance capability.

Anne is also proud of the work Qantas Super has done in the investment space to ensure that the fund is doing everything it can to help members feel confident about their financial future.

During Anne’s time as Chairman, Qantas Super introduced a variety of new investment options, giving members more choice in how and where their super is invested. It also came through the Global Financial Crisis stronger, and with a number of lessons learned.

“It’s been a process, over 15 years, of refining and focusing our investment philosophy and our investment strategy to become what I think is a quite sophisticated, differentiated, and very well considered strategy,” Anne said.

Anne explained the decision to step down as Chairman earlier this year came as she realised it was simply time to let go.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I think Qantas Super is a fantastic fund and it will go forward and prosper, and I look forward to watching its success from the outside.”

As John Atkin steps into the role of Chairman, Anne said the advice she gave him and the rest of the Board was simple: focus on our members and stay true to the purpose of Qantas Super.

“Honour the history of the fund; respect the culture of the fund, which is different to many other places; and continue to focus on our members.”

Qantas Super sincerely thanks Anne for her outstanding service and dedication over the last 15 years.

John Sipek

After 15 years, Group C Director John Sipek is stepping down from the Qantas Super Board.

It’s been a busy time: as well as his work as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer in Battery Section Melbourne, John is also a senior union delegate with the Aircraft Workers’ Union, and has been a Councillor of Moonee Valley City Council since 2004, serving over the years as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

One could be forgiven for thinking he already had a lot on his plate, but John said he decided to nominate for a role on the Qantas Super Board when the opportunity arose because he has “always had a fascination with finance”.

“Plus, as an engineer, I always like to forward plan things,” John said.

While John believed he was prepared for the role – given a background in management and finance, and experience as a Director on other Boards over the years – he quickly learned that being a director on the board of a superannuation fund required a lot of attention to detail, and time to read all the documents.

He admitted, “In the first six months I was stunned and overwhelmed with what I had to read. I soon realised that I had to put a lot of my leisure time aside to read all the papers and be prepared for the meetings.”

A love of the job and helping fellow members with their super kept John going.

With the superannuation landscape having changed significantly over the last 15 years, John said he has been proud to serve on the Board of one of the few remaining corporate super funds in Australia.

In particular, John said his experience on the Board reinforced the importance of having member-elected Directors.

“In how many other organisations would shareholders or members have direct contact with their Directors? The great part of having member-elected Directors is that members can actually speak to you,” he said.

As part of his role as a Director, John served on the Insurance, Audit, Member Experience, and Remuneration Committees.

During John’s time on the Board, we launched our new Gateway division and introduced an automated investment option, Glidepath. We also reduced fees for members and launched our flagship face-to-face advice service, helping members build confidence in their financial future.

Having become one of our longest-serving Directors, Qantas Super thanks John for his service and dedication over the last 15 years.

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