CEO & Chair’s message
A brave new world
The last year has been an unprecedented period of growth and change for SuperFriend, driven by our new Partner-informed strategy. In parallel, we have watched our Partners evolve following a long period of scrutiny and regulatory change. These shifts mean we are now facing into a time of unique opportunity to improve the mental health and wellbeing of working Australians.
On 1 July 2019 our new 2021 Strategy commenced, cementing our vision for all Australian workplaces to be mentally healthy. We are now positioned to be far more responsive to the current and emerging needs of our Partners, and to work with them to co-create innovative solutions in an agile, customer-driven way.
The needs of our two primary Partner industries—superannuation and insurance—are aligned in many ways, but each have unique and important differences. Our structure gives each of these streams focussed attention, with experts who deeply understand each industry within our new Insurance Solutions and Superannuation and Workplace Solutions teams.
We have also created a new Innovative Solutions team which will enable the agile development of on-demand, needs-driven digital solutions in response to emerging Partner requests.
To support all this, SuperFriend will grow to over 30 people by the end of 2019. Several of these newly created roles are Sydney-based to more effectively serve our Sydney-based Partners.
SuperFriend now has 30 Partners who are working more closely than ever with us to develop solutions that meet genuine staff and member needs, delivered and accessed on demand in culturally and technologically compatible ways.
We were very pleased to welcome new Partner Fund, LUCRF Super this year as well as Partner Insurer OnePath.
Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
It was a whirlwind year for all our Partners, as well as the Financial Services Industry at large, as the Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry ran through much of 2018, concluding in February 2019.
SuperFriend research has shown that the gruelling and stressful year surrounding the commission has taken its toll on the mental health of Partner employees, many of whom were called on to collate or submit evidence.
The sector continues to face public and media scrutiny related to the Commissions’ findings and recommendations. See SuperFriend’s report on the mental health within the Financial and Insurance Services here.
The sector also faced significant regulatory change in the period, including requirements relating to the Government’s Protecting Your Super legislation.
These challenges have further highlighted the need for a person-centred approach to super and insurance for customers, and a growing demand for cultural shifts within financial institutions to enhance the health of their own staff.
SuperFriend provided ongoing support to Partner employees throughout the Commission and intense period of industry change. Together with our Partners, we are keen to make lasting improvements to mental health and wellbeing within financial services and beyond, and are pleased with the renewed commitment from Partners to ensure we collectively embrace this opportunity for positive change.
Vale – Dr Peter Cotton (1958-2018)
SuperFriend staff were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our Program Committee member, Dr Peter Cotton in November 2018. Peter was a mental health expert representative on SuperFriend’s Program Committee since 2011 and made an enormous contribution to SuperFriend. We express our deepest condolences to Peter’s family, Maryanne, Tilda, Eugene and Val.
Peter was a humble and gentle genius and undertook extraordinary work that simultaneously spanned research, clinical supervision, strategic and advisory roles across industry and governments and his work at the coal-face as an organisational and clinical practitioner.
In the last few years alone, Peter has provided extensive advice to organisations like Australian Public Service Commission and Comcare in their support of the psychological health and safety of federal workers. He has worked with national organisations like Beyond Blue, SuperFriend, the CSIRO, the Australian Psychological Society, Safe Work Australia and Medibank. Peter has also worked extensively with numerous work health and safety organisations, Victorian Transport and Accident Commission and state and territory regulators and insurers. He has collaborated with individuals, researchers and workplace mental health organisations to develop and deliver programs and to push forward the science, the practice and the evidence.
For more reflections on Peter see our full tribute here.
We want to thank our exceptional team who are deeply committed to SuperFriend’s vision and work. None of this could be done without the ongoing commitment from our Partners, whose dedication to the mental health of their members and customers is the reason we are able to provide solutions, advocacy and insights Australia-wide.
As expected, our year-end financial result demonstrates ongoing stability in SuperFriend’s financial position.
We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to achieve even greater mental health and wellbeing impacts for members, staff and workplaces across Australia.
Chair Board of Directors, SuperFriend
Chief Executive Officer & Company Secretary, SuperFriend