Industry fund chief exits

The long-running chief executive of a $9.4 billion industry superannuation fund is stepping down.

Frank Pegan is exiting his role as chief executive at Catholic Super after 17 years at the helm.

Chief risk officer David O'Sullivan acts as chief executive while an international search for a replacement is underway.

Board chair Danny Casey said in late 2017 the superannuation fund had embarked on a plan to review and reset its priorities.

The new leadership team will focus on delivering "outstanding service and returns to members and enhancing the fund's governance framework," he said.

"The board is confident the new team will continue to deliver the very strong financial performance members expect, while sharpening our focus on all aspects of governance.

"It's a time of change on many levels for Catholic Super. We are grateful for all that Pegan has achieved, for the many members he has helped and for the extraordinary legacy he leaves at Catholic Super."

Casey added Pegan had overseen a period of extraordinary growth at the fund, delivering strong and consistent investment performance for its members.

Pegan was appointed chief executive on 16 July 2001, and prior to that was chair of the Finance Staff Group at the Catholic Education Office based in Melbourne.

Pegan was known for his climate change activism. He was named chair of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) in 2009 and enlisted Catholic Super as a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and Investor Statement on Climate Change.

Under his leadership, the fund's membership grew to 75,000 members and funds under management went from about $900 million to now $9.4 billion.

Catholic Super and the Australian Catholic Superannuation Retirement Fund (ACRF) were the subject of failed mergers at the superannuation round of the financial services Royal Commission.

Both funds were slammed for wasting a merger opportunity that had clear benefits for members after finding executives were more worried about losing their roles.

Talks of a serious merger dated back to October 2016. Catholic Super imposed conditions that its chief executive, deputy chair and chief investment officer were guaranteed these positions within the merged fund - which ACRF rejected, the Commission heard.

Additionally, the fund's lack of rigour around corporate credit use and conflicts of interest were put under the spotlight.

Catholic Super paid $2 million to Australian Family, a marketing and communications firm. Its chief executive is the brother of Robert Clancy, the fund's former head of institutional relations. Clancy's wife was a shareholder in the company.

Clancy was found to have racked up $46,000 of personal expenses using his corporate card. Catholic Super has since terminated Clancy's employment.

"A broader investigation into how and why the behaviour was able to occur continues. We acknowledge that some of our processes and procedures were not followed, and independent experts at PwC are analysing why that happened and what needs to change," it said in a statement.

Read more: Catholic SuperSuperannuationAustralian Catholic Superannuation Retirement David O'SullivanDanny CaseyFrank PeganPension fundsRobert ClancyRoyal Commission
Link to something zYfvJxlA