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Annual Member Meeting

Your super and financial wellbeing

Our members were invited to our Annual Member Meeting on 3 March 2022. The meeting covered members in the MLC Super Fund, MLC Superannuation Fund, DPM Retirement Service and PremiumChoice Retirement Service.

The Annual Member Meeting provided you with an opportunity to hear from the Board and the Executive Team about your super, how we are improving our service to you and tips from our experts on how you can improve your financial wellbeing.

Members also took an opportunity to ask questions of the Board and Executives.

Below you can view a recording of the Annual Member Meeting, the meeting topics and read the meeting minutes. You can also find answers to member questions asked within the webinar or accompanying the meeting minutes.


Annual Member Meeting

Watch every minute of the Annual Member Meeting, including a panel discussion where MLC executives and NULIS board members answered your questions - live.

Transcript (PDF, 1.2MB)
1 hour 13 minute video


Meeting topics

Welcome and Chair’s address

NULIS Chairman, Lindsay Smartt, shares how the trustee is ensuring your interests are put first and how MLC’s super funds becoming a part of the Insignia Financial Group will mean an expansion of value and benefits for our members.

Transcript (PDF, 207KB)
6 minute video

Fund and market update

Chief Investment Officer, Jonathan Armitage, discusses the returns from your superannuation funds, and the economic and investment outlook for 2022 and beyond.

Transcript (PDF, 295KB)
15 minute video

Member initiatives

Chief Distribution Officer, Mark Oliver, talks about how we’re making it easier for you to engage with and manage your super.

Transcript (PDF, 209KB)
6 minute video

Sustainability

Head of ESG, Steve Black, shares our approach to sustainable investing.

Transcript (PDF, 175KB)
6 minute video

Related reading:
ESG assets may hit $53 trillion by 2025

Financial wellbeing panel discussion

Our host, Genevieve Front, leads a panel of experts discussing ways to help make managing money easier and less confusing.

Transcript (PDF, 267KB)
10 minute video

Related reading and resources:
Your money behaviour explained
Which are you – a saver or investor?
Could flexible working be the key to saving your super?
How to help your parents and still save for retirement
Money biases worksheet
International Women’s Day resources coming soon

Member questions

The Board and Executive team answer your questions.

Transcript (PDF, 515KB)
30 minute video


Meeting minutes and remaining member questions and answers

Download a copy of the meeting minutes.

Download a copy of the member questions and answers that we didn’t get to during the meeting.


Top questions and answers

  • Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and all the people impacted by the fighting in that part of the world. If we look at the financial markets, this has been casting a shadow over global share prices and making investors more cautious. In terms of the impacts on markets, investors are likely to start looking for safe haven assets such as cash, gold and currencies such as the Swiss Franc.

    The major impact will be on Europe’s economy. If you look at the analysis that’s been done on the energy markets in particular, Russia provides about 40% of European natural gas supply and about 30% of its oil supply. So, the disruptions at present are as a result of the fighting, but also because of the sanctions. This will have material impact on economies, and that’s already on top of rising energy prices in that part of the world.

    It is difficult to determine the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the longer lasting. If we look at history, there are some precedents such as Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, which lasted a decade from 1979 to 1989. The scale and the timetable of the current Russian-Ukraine conflict is much more difficult to predict, and there a number of factors to take into consideration such as President Putin’s strategy, the Russian population’s tolerance for the fighting and the Ukrainian population’s resistance to the invasion, as well as the economic and military responses from Europe and the United States.

     

  • In order to answer those questions, we’ll focus on the MySuper Growth Portfolio, as this is where the bulk of our members’ super is invested. The MySuper Growth Portfolio returned 20.3% to the year to the end of June 2021 and 15.6% for the 12 months to the end of December 2021. Both of those performance figures are calculated taking out both investment fees and also taxes.

    Those are strong returns in and of themselves, but they are also strong when compared against returns across the super industry. MLC’s MySuper Growth return was ranked 6th in the SuperRatings Top 50 MySuper Funds Survey over the last 12 months to the end of December 2021. If we look over the two-year period to 31 December 2021, MLC MySuper Growth was ranked 10th against the same peer group. Returns in this survey are also net of investment fees and taxes, and the survey also includes both retail and industry fund peers. It’s very pleasing that our MySuper Growth ranked so highly in that survey.

    In addition, over 84% of our superannuation portfolios, which are managed by MLC Asset Management (and which include the MySuper product, the Plum Pre-Mixed options as well as all our other choice investment options), either met or exceeded their stated investment objectives over multiple time periods to the end of December last year.

    Whilst we are not in a position to comment on the performance of our retail and industry fund peers, we believe that there are many good superannuation providers across both retail and industry funds.

    With regard to the coming together of MLC and IOOF, this has deepened and broadened the capability of our investment team. MLC Asset Management’s investment team now work closely with our colleagues at IOOF, leveraging their additional range of expertise to strengthen the outcomes for members’ investments. For example, MLC brings deep expertise for number of unlisted asset classes such as private equity.

    In the same way, IOOF’s strengths in fixed income is being leveraged by the MLC Asset Management’s investment team. The coming together of MLC and IOOF’s investment teams has resulted in one of Australia’s largest investment groups – with over 50 professionals averaging more than 20 years of experience. One of the real strengths is the diversity and depth of experience of the combined team. Our team comes from all walks of life, they’ve worked in many different countries and bring global experience. In addition, they hold a broad range of qualifications.

    What’s clear is that as we grow as a team, we’ve got one very singular purpose, which is to help all Australians secure their financial wellbeing. We want to continue to provide a broad suite of investment choices to our members, but we also are aware that we need to simplify parts of our offer. Working together to streamline those product offerings will allow us to drive much better value for members using our improved scale of the combined organisations.

     

  • We believe the negative market reactions we’ve seen in recent periods outside the events in the Ukraine, have been driven by the likelihood of higher official interest rates. We believe higher interest rates are probably one of the greater risks emerging over the next 12 months or so. Investors have become used to unusually low interest rates since the global financial crisis in 2008-2009.

    We believe it’s likely there could be a sharp reaction to a rising interest rate cycle. The market jitters we saw in January and February stemmed from that unease. If we think about higher interest rates, they’ve have varying impacts on investments. They tend to not be very positive for bond and fixed income markets but do create both opportunities and challenges for share markets. However, we have been monitoring inflation for a while, and that is why we’ve been moving away from fixed income assets and directing members’ funds towards more alternative assets, with different return patterns to traditional assets such as shares and bonds.

    We strongly believe that those alternative assets will react differently to a rising interest rate cycle. If we look at our MySuper portfolios, they have exposures to alternative investments with income streams from a number of different sources, such as legal, government and corporate receivables. We believe the cash flows from these sources tend not to move lockstep with those from listed companies. Importantly, we think that these alternative assets are a strong contributor to overall portfolio diversification.

    Again, just looking at my MySuper portfolios, we have substantial exposure to unlisted asset classes like private equity, real estate and infrastructure. And we believe they are likely to be less effected by short-term market volatility. Additionally, there are a number of derivative strategies in place for MLC’s MySuper portfolios, which allows these portfolios to participate in the upside of share market movements while also providing some cushioning when markets slip back.

    There are no shortcuts to delivering strong, long-term returns or managing near-term risks. The principles of diversification, active management and risk control very much anchor our investment approach and have done for a long period of time. Diversification is very important because it means we are not dependent on good performance from any one single asset or type of asset to drive returns for our members. Instead, those longer-term accumulations come from many different assets in different countries and regions.

    We also believe that active management of our members’ funds can empower us to better look out for dangers and also can help avoid them. Through both active management and diversification, we’re able to deploy our members’ funds towards assets where the changing return opportunity may be higher, and then actually lower the weighting to those where we think future returns are likely to be less positive.

    Sticking by those principles has helped to steer our members’ portfolios through a number of changing investment cycles, includin the GFC and more recently the March 2020 COVID crash. We believe that our focus on diversification, active management and a strong focus on risk is going to help us navigate members’ funds through whatever may lie ahead.

     

  • Some of our products have what we call ‘performance fees’. This means the investment fee component has an element where the fees may go up if the performance is strong, so they will vary with investment performance. The better the option performs, the higher the fee and vice versa. Given the strong investment performance for the year that ended in June 2021, the associated investment performance-based fees have been higher in some of those options as a result.

    These fee changes were communicated to members as part of a significant event notice in November 2021. This letter included details about how some of the fees and costs, such as investment fees, are disclosed following a regulatory change from the regulator, Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

     

  • We calculate the carbon footprint for an increasing number of our portfolio managers and engage with companies and funds where appropriate to understand their emission reduction plans. We believe that engaging with companies and asset managers to understand and encourage their decarbonisation approach gives us more leverage to deliver better outcomes in the decarbonisation of our economy.

    As an organisation, Insignia Financial measures the impact of our own operations have on the environment. At the end of this financial year, we’ll be reporting on greenhouse gas emissions in our annual report. As part of that report, we’ll also be outlining how we will be further reducing our environmental impact as an organisation.

     


Top ways to help your super

  • Think about your money personality and how it affects your behaviour
  • Get a clear idea of where you are with your super now.
  • Think about the retirement you want – what will it look like?
  • Use some of our digital and phone-advice tools to see what actions will get you closer to your goals.
  • Finally, remember it's never too late. These ideas work when retiring in fifty years - or five years.

NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633, AFSL 236465 (NULIS) is trustee of MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024, MLC Superannuation Fund ABN 40 022 701 955, PremiumChoice Retirement Service ABN 70 479 285 132 and DPM Retirement Service ABN 40 725 722 496. NULIS is a member of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 (formerly IOOF Holdings Ltd) and its related bodies corporate.

This information is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS by calling us.