A path less travelled: Meet your Fund CEO
29 June 2022
Fund CEO Kate Farrar is an accomplished and award-winning businesswoman who welcomes SPSL Limited to the fold after more than four years leading LGIAsuper. Kate was a finalist in the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards in 2020, is a Chief Executive Women international scholarship winner, and started her career journey to superannuation via an unconventional path.
I definitely had a non-traditional journey to enter the finance industry, studying a Bachelor of Music as my undergraduate degree. I decided to take a break from music for my first job out of university, starting as an analyst at NSW Treasury Corporation. That role sparked my love of, and curiosity for, markets and investing. I went back to uni to study commerce and econometrics and have pursued a career in finance and markets ever since.
I didn’t give up music entirely and have expressed that passion in other ways, serving on the board of the Queensland Music Festival, playing in a band, and singing in a choir.
I grew up and went to university in Sydney but moved to Brisbane for work in 1996. Coincidentally, that first job was at Suncorp, working in investment products. I have lived in Brisbane ever since, raised my son here and definitely consider Queensland home.
Winning the Chief Executive Women scholarship – and getting to study leadership in France at the famous Insead Business School as part of that – was a huge moment and an incredible learning experience. Also, being appointed as the CEO of LGIAsuper in 2018 and to the board of Seven Group Holdings in 2019 were big career moments.
I came on board as CEO in 2018 during a time of major change in the superannuation sector. My brief was to significantly reduce costs for members, grow the fund, and maintain the fund’s excellent reputation for performance and service.
I was attracted to the fact that LGIAsuper is a profit-for-members fund with employees who genuinely care about putting members’ needs first. I love the work our team does all over Queensland, particularly bringing seminars, super health checks and virtual support to our members to help them increase their financial literacy and be confident that their retirement goals are within their reach.
A few years ago, LGIAsuper went through a process to identify the most suitable merger partners to achieve our vision. We were looking for funds of a similar size that were aspiring to deliver personal service to members, rather than becoming what we in the industry call “megafunds”. Energy Super and SPSL were our top two candidates Australia-wide. SPSL’s members really do complement LGIAsuper and Energy Super’s in demographics and geography, and we could see that there is a lot of value that we can deliver for SPSL members in the long-term.
We ultimately plan to give ownership of the fund back to members. This is not something that has been done before in the superannuation industry, but the benefits to members are clear. Over the next three to four years, the merger and integration should significantly reduce fees for SPSL members, and give members the opportunity to benefit from personal service and other products and initiatives that we will offer to our members as a group. I’m really enjoying starting that journey and welcoming SPSL and its members into our group.
Please note LGIAsuper changed its name to Brighter Super on 1 July 2022.