The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has issued directions to NESS Super Pty Ltd (NESS) designed to improve its governance and ensure the board’s structure, skills and experience promote strong risk culture and better position NESS to deliver improved outcomes to members.
NESS is the trustee of NESS Super, which has 12,266 members and $1.02b in assets under management.
APRA’s directions will ensure that NESS makes the necessary amendments to its constitution so that it can appoint a second independent director, which will achieve an equal composition of employee, employer and independent directors on a six-person board.
APRA gave the direction following an APRA governance review and an independent review conducted by NESS that identified skills gaps and deficiencies on the NESS Board. Although the trustee agreed with appointing a second independent director, it has not yet been able to effect the constitutional change required for the appointment. APRA considers the direction necessary to ensure NESS and its members have the benefit of the additional skills and capabilities that the independent director would bring to the board.
APRA’s Executive Director of Superannuation Suzanne Smith said the NESS board was working co-operatively with APRA to expedite the appointment of a second independent director.
"Superannuation trustees must be able to take the steps required to ensure their boards have the full range of skills, knowledge and experience needed for the effective and prudent operation of their funds.
“The promotion of strong and effective governance is fundamental to a robust superannuation industry and achieving good member outcomes. APRA will intervene to ensure that board structures appropriately address member interests and, where required, will give directions to drive the desired outcomes,” Ms Smith said.