03 August, 2021

Leading by example

Veteran investment specialist and Spirit Super Trustee Director Sue Dahn was recently named the 2021 Trustee of the Year.

Spirit Super Trustee Director Sue Dahn was named the AIST Trustee of the Year at the 2021 Conference of Major Superannuation Funds in Adelaide.

The award was presented by Kerrie Howard, Head of Institutional Sales and award sponsor Schroders, and recognises outstanding achievement by a profit-to-member fund trustee director in the previous 12 months.

An investment specialist and founder of the Investment Advisory practice for Pitcher Partners Melbourne, Sue has extensive experience in super and financial services.

Over the last twenty years, she has been a non-executive director on three super boards. She also sits on the board of AIA Australia, Australian Communities Foundation and Victorian Traditional Owners Funds Limited, and the Investment Committee of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne.

Sue was one of the first female directors appointed to the MTAA Super board in 2012 and was named The Australian and Barron’s Top Financial Adviser in Australia in 2019.

Following the merger between MTAA Super and Tasplan in early 2021, she was appointed as Chair of Spirit Super’s Investment Committee and is also a member of the Member Benefits and Services Committee.

Spirit Super CEO Leeanne Turner said Sue was a more than worthy recipient of the Trustee of the Year accolade.

“Sue epitomises the kind of trustee director that our industry needs. She is intelligent, skilled, experienced, and a great leader. Importantly, she is steadfast in her resolve to ensure decisions are made for the right reasons. She is a champion for good governance and is always working to make this industry the best it can be to secure great outcomes for our members.”

“It has been a privilege and inspiration working with Sue over the years,” Ms Turner said. “I have no doubt she will continue to take Spirit Super from strength to strength.”

While accepting the award, Sue was quick to point out that being a trustee director wasn’t a solo performance but rather a team effort.

She told SuperTalk, “It’s a microcosm of the benefit of the collective in many ways – so many times on so many issues I would approach an agenda item thinking I knew what should happen. But then you hear other people’s views and get another perspective, and it’s rich and deep and wonderful. The decision of the group will be better than the decision of any individual.”

After a year of turbulent markets, a global pandemic and a fund merger, Sue said the win was a nice way to cap off a busy but rewarding year.

“Remember that between February 23 and March 23 last year, the share market dropped 33%. We all doubled, tripled, and quadrupled our workload, all while trying to figure out how to work from home. So, we had a triple challenge. We had ‘What do we do about falling assets?' and 'How do we position portfolios to limit the downside and enjoy the upside when it comes?' Then 'How do we manage our new working arrangements both personally and with each other?'"

Spirit Super Chair Naomi Edwards said Dahn was instrumental to the successful merger of MTAA Super and Tasplan and the founding of Spirit Super.

“Sue has been a pleasure to work with and is a big reason the MTAA Super and Tasplan merger has been so effective. Throughout the merger process, she took on more responsibility and worked tirelessly to help build the foundation of a fund that the industry, our staff, and our members could be proud of.”

“When we became Spirit Super, we resolved to take a fresh approach to super,” Ms Edwards said. “We want to be bold. We want to inspire positive change in our industry and in the lives of our members. It’s wonderful that Sue has been recognised in this way. Her professionalism, passion and experience drive us to keep improving to provide better value to our members. It’s very exciting.”