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How much did industry super executives earn in FY23?

By Rhea Nath
3 minute read

New research has unveiled the remuneration of the 10 highest-paid superannuation leaders from the latest round of financial reporting.

AustralianSuper’s chief investment officer (CIO) and deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Delaney has topped the list of Australia’s highest paid industry superannuation executives, according to Yellow Folder Research’s latest Executive Index.

Compiled using data from the latest round of financial reporting, with remuneration captured for the year to 30 June 2023, the index found Mr Delaney received $2 million in compensation.

He was the only executive to cross the $2 million mark.

He was followed by UniSuper CIO John Pearce ($1.77 million) and AwareSuper CIO Damian Graham ($1.59 million), with the top three remaining unchanged from the previous financial year.

Meanwhile, Hostplus CEO David Elia and AustralianSuper CEO Paul Schroder were the highest paid chief executives, receiving $1.56 million and $1.50 million respectively, in the fourth and fifth spot.

The rest of the top 10 highest paid executives comprised:

  • Aware Super CEO, Deanne Stewart ($1.47 million)
  • Hostplus CIO, Sam Sicilia ($1.29 million)
  • UniSuper CEO, Peter Chun ($1.26 million)
  • Cbus CEO, Kristian Fok ($1.21 million)
  • HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey ($1.20 million)

Ms Stewart and Ms Blakey were the only female executives to break the top 10.

The index also noted that fund size played a “significant role” in driving pay but it was not one-for-one.

Ian Patrick, who is CIO of Australia’s second largest fund, Australian Retirement Trust, received $1.2 million and appeared in the eleventh position. However, Yellow Folder Research suggested, this could be contingent on the fact the fund was only formed in early 2022, following the merger of Sunsuper and QSuper.

The executives to appear among the top 25 who did not hold a CEO or CIO role were primarily from Australia’s largest super fund, $300 billion fund AustralianSuper. This included chief operating officer, Peter Curtis ($1.04 million); chief member officer, Rose Kerlin ($840,000); chief risk officer, Andrew Mantello ($820,000); and chief retirement officer Shawn Blackmore ($780,000).

Looking at the 25 highest paid super executives, they were paid $28.5 million in total for the 2023 financial year, coming to an average of some $1.1 million each.

Variable remuneration, or incentive driven pay, accounted for just over 20 per cent ($6.4 million) of the total paid to the 25 individuals. Interestingly, the proportion earned by each person varied dramatically, ranging from 0 per cent to 53.7 per cent of total remuneration (as seen with UniSuper’s CIO, John Pearce).

Variable remuneration was also weighted towards the short term. The index highlighted 19 of the 25 earned some sort of short-term incentive for the financial year and just five individuals – four of whom worked for Aware Super – were paid a long-term incentive.

Yellow Folder Research’s managing director, Julian Doherty, said the index showcases the remuneration of Australia’s key executives whose positions require them to make decisions that affect the retirement savings of all Australians.

“Our data adds to the debate around whether this level of remuneration is fair, whether the financial year 2023 increases are justified and whether total pay is appropriately balanced towards variable pay,” Mr Doherty said.