Trustee Board & Management

 

Trustee Director Biographies

 

Learn more about AvSuper’s Board of nine Trustee Directors who are governed by the AvSuper Constitution and Trust Deed.

 

 

Ben Firkins

Joined AvSuper Board: 4 April 2002
Board roles:

Member Representative Director

  • Chair of AvSuper
  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Diploma of Financial Planning, ASFA 2010
  • Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Superannuation) 2007
  • ASFA 200 Trusteeship
  • ASFA 102 Administration 2007
  • ASFA Running your Super Fund 2000
  • ASFA PS 146 Certificate 2004
Ben works with CASA in Perth as an aviation safety auditor, specialising in the carriage of dangerous goods on aircraft. Ben’s extensive experience enables him to appreciate the complex audit, compliance issues and risk matters of super funds like AvSuper. Ben’s practical experience is of great benefit to the Fund and its members, especially in his role as Chair of the Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee, and helps ensure investment compliance matters are rigorously monitored. His experience as a regulator has greatly assisted the Fund with its general communications with the regulator. Ben also served on the Investment Committee for many years.

 

 

Denise Allen

Joined AvSuper Board: 28 April 2008
Board roles:

Independent Director from 1 July 2018

  • Chair of Investment Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Diploma of Financial Services ( Financial Planning) 2003
  • PS146 – 2003 SIA
Denise is well respected in the superannuation and finance industries for her knowledge of investment products and superannuation from extensive experience in managed investments. An experienced executive for large investment and merchant banks, she has a strong business and strategic background, and experience dealing with people at all organisational levels.

 

 

Stuart Brades

Joined AvSuper Board: 13 March 2019
Board roles:

Member Representative Director

  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
  • Administration and Member Services Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Masters of Professional Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science – Computing Science
Stuart is an Air Traffic Controller in the Perth Tower and Terminal Control Unit. He is Vice President Finance for the Civil Air Operations Officers Association of Australia. Stuart holds a number of qualifications including a Masters of Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Science – Computing Science.

 

 

 

 

Geoffrey Burgess

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 July 2019
Board roles:

Employer Representative Director

  • Administration and Member Services Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Company Directors’ course at AICD 2014
  • Enterprise Risk Management Course – Institute of Actuaries of Australia 2008
  • Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia 1982
  • Bachelor of Arts (Actuarial Studies), Macquarie University 1973
Geoff has over 40 years of experience working across the superannuation industry. For the majority of his career, Geoff practised as a consulting actuary advising both trustees and sponsoring employers on all aspects of defined benefit and other superannuation arrangements. More recently, he has been responsible for the investments of a corporate superannuation fund of similar size and design to AvSuper. Geoff is active in industry and professional bodies and was President of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia in 1996.

 

 

Lawrie Cox

Joined AvSuper Board: 15 October 2010
Board roles:

Independent Director from 1 July 2018

  • Investment Committee
  • Chair of Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • ASFA 200 Trusteeship Certificate – Macquarie University 1996
  • PS146 ASFA November 2004
  • GAICD Australian Institute of Company Directors 2010
Lawrie was the manager of industrial relations with the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) and has over 36 years of industrial relations experience, mostly in the aviation industry. Lawrie also has over two decades experience as a professional director, including roles as a superannuation trustee director. Lawrie has extensive experience with superannuation industry issues, the legal framework and the Trustee’s fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of members.

 

 

Michael Farrell

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 March 2015
Board roles:

Member Representative Director

  • Administration and Member Services Committee
  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Trustee Director Accreditation Program (current)
Michael was an ARFF fire fighter for 31 years and his knowledge of this segment of the industry positions him well to address the needs of the fire fighters within AvSuper’s membership base. Having served in senior positions with union groups such as the ARFF, FFU, and UFUA (including national president and national trustee), Michael has obtained experience and detailed understandings of board governance (including procedural, legal and regulatory requirements), the preparation of financial information for external auditors and regulatory authorities, and the assessment and review of financial statements.

 

 

Hylton Mathews

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 October 2015
Board roles:

Employer Representative Director

  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
  • Chair of Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
  • Investment Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy) 1988 – University of Pretoria
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting 1989 – University of Cape Town
  • Member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants 1993
  • Master of Taxation 2003 – Monash University
  • Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors 2014
Hylton has over 28 years of financial services experience in various roles, including Chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs Asset Management Australia and both Taxation and General Manager roles at large accounting firms.  His roles have included researching, appointing, reviewing and transitioning investment managers. He has a Masters in Taxation, a Bachelor of Commerce, a Postgraduate Diploma in accounting and has completed the AICD Company Directors Course.

 

 

Stephen Merlicek

Joined AvSuper Board: 13 March 2019
Board roles:

Independent Director

  • Investment Committee
  • Administration and Member Services Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Masters of Commerce (Honours)
Stephen is an experienced Director and finance executive and has held the position of Chief Investment Officer with both IOOF and Telstra Super. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Economic (Honours) and a Masters of Commerce.

 

 

Julie-Anne Schafer

Joined AvSuper Board: 28 July 2015
Board roles:

Employer Representative Director

  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
  • Chair of Administration and Member Services Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • GAICD Australian Institute of Company Directors
Julie-Anne has over 18 years of directorship experience in various sectors including general insurance, telecommunications, health and transport, plus time as the Chair of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ). Prior to being a professional director, she was a legal partner specialising in commercial and insurance matters for 25 years. She has experience in appointing and assessing fund managers, as well as investment planning and management, governance and audit and risk management.

 

Executive Management Biographies

 

Learn more about AvSuper’s Executive Management team 

Michelle Wade

 BA (Applied Comms), GAICD, FASFA
Joined AvSuper Team: 4 December 2007
AvSuper role: Chief Executive Officer
Relevant qualifications:
  • Company Directors Course (GAICD) 2014
  • Diploma of Financial Planning (Kaplan) 2010
  • RG146 Compliant
  • Fellow of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) 2009
  • Diploma of Superannuation Management (Macquarie University) 1996
  • Diploma of Management Skills & Development (Monash University) 1993
  • Bachelor of Arts (Applied Communications) (University of Western Sydney) 1991
Michelle joined the Fund with over 15 years experience in the superannuation industry across a broad range of roles including the marketing, operations and governance of several super funds of varying size and scale.

 

 

Nick Smith

 BCom, BA, CPA
Joined AvSuper Team: 21 February 2018
AvSuper role: Executive Manager – Finance and Tax
Relevant qualifications:
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts (now Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand) in 2000
  • Bachelor of Commerce, major in Accounting (Australia National University)
  • Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics (ANU)
Nick is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in executive and leadership roles within the aviation, superannuation and Finance Sectors.

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Email:
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