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Super fund boss remuneration on the agenda

Two major superannuation funds are reviewing their remuneration structures as a result of COVID-19, which will potentially see many executive pay reduce, a public hearing found.

Hostplus chief executive David Elia appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics yesterday, answering questions about the impact the global pandemic is having on executive pay.

Chair Tim Wilson pointed out AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk's stance, which is advocating for remuneration to be reviewed and consequently reduced on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and weaker investment performance.

Elia did not outright agree or disagree with this reasoning, but mentioned that Hostplus's remuneration committee will meet next week and review salaries.

"There is obviously a fixed base salary, and then there's a variable component. And there is no doubt that those variable elements will certainly be impacted as a consequence of the performance of the fund, particularly the area of over investment returns," he said.

Wilson pressed if the remuneration committee will consider other extenuating factors, like many Hostplus members who work in hospitality losing their income as a result of the pandemic, which should be factored in when reducing bonuses.

Elia said that "we are getting on with the job" and that the super fund has not put its hand up for JobKeeper.

"[Ultimately] we are focused on continuing to work for the benefit of our members. Certainly our industry has not been impacted. Our job is to invest money. Our job has also been to assist the government in relation to its early release scheme payments...," he said.

An investigation by News Corp found Elia was the highest paid chief executive last financial year, earning $1.19 million. He is followed by Silk, who received $1.06 million, while QSuper's chief Michael Pennisi was paid $1.02 million.

Among the highest-paid chief investment officers, News Corp found UniSuper's John Pearce was the highest paid among his peers at $1.73 million, while AustralianSuper's Mark Delaney earned $1.63 million and Damian Graham from First State Super's received $1.33 million.

Read more: HostplusSuperannuationAustralianSuperDamian GrahamDavid EliaFirst State SuperIan SilkJobKeeperJohn PearceMark DelaneyMichael PennisiTim WilsonUniSuper
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