Karen Volpato,senior policy advisor with the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has won the 2017 Woman of the Year Award at the 5th annual Money Management & Super Review Women in Financial Services Awards.
And Macquarie University HR chief Nicole Gower has joined the UniSuper Board. Ms Gower was replacing Dr Susan Gould who had retired from the board after serving three terms, UniSuper said.
AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck said the Award for Ms Volpato– which celebrates women’s achievements across the financial services sector – recognised her tireless and passionate work in superannuation policy and research and her long career in championing better retirement outcomes for members.
Ms Scheerlinck said Ms Volapto’s recent work on the AIST-Mercer Super Tracker and her very active involvement in the long and complex industry negotiations regarding Regulatory Guide 97 fee and cost disclosure were just two highlights in an outstanding 37-year career in superannuation.
During RG97 negotiations, Ms Volpato championed an objectives and principles-based approach, which is gaining consensus across the industry. “Anyone who knows Karen well knows that her passion for her work is driven by an unwavering commitment to protecting members’ best interests across every aspect of superannuation,” Ms Scheerlinck said.
Throughout her career Ms Volpato has worked for gender equality, particularly through her involvement with Women in Super, where she was chair of policy for four years.
She also served as marketing manager of First State Super where she developed Australia’s first women and super website. As part of her work with the AIST-Mercer Super Tracker, Ms Volpato introduced a gender lens to the Tracker to provide an evidenced-based assessment on how policy changes might impact on women’s retirement outcomes.
She also oversaw the marketing rollout of First State Super as the fund transitioned to public offer fund and worked on implementing its merger with Health Super.
She was a ground breaker for women in the law, serving as the first female lawyer in a Tasmanian law firm established in the 1880s. She also served as Trust Bank’s first woman lawyer.
At the Retirement Benefits Fund, she spent a year and a half reviewing all invalidity claim processes with all stakeholders, halving both the claims and reviews. Karen also personally managed the Port Arthur massacre invalidity claims.