Friday, 15 June 2012

That the Assembly resolve to

place on record its appreciation for outstanding contribution of the Reverend Dr Robert Hoskin as a member director of Benefund Limited, Trustee of the Uniting Church in Australia Beneficiary Fund from 1992  to 2012, and Chair of that Board for eleven years from 2001   to 2012.

Robert has provided the Fund members and the Church with his extraordinary leadership, drawing on his actuarial background and his experience as a Uniting Church Minister of the Word from 1980 to 2005. Additionally, through the marriage of his actuarial skills with his deep understanding of his Trustee responsibilities and the philosophy and needs of the Church, Robert has complemented the skills and the extensive superannuation knowledge of the previous Executive Director and the current Chief Executive Officer.

The significance of Robert’s leadership and service to the Fund and the Church is evidenced in the major issues the Fund has faced during Robert’s time in the Chair, including:

    • The licensing of the Fund.
    • The impact of the Global Financial Crisis on investments and the actuarial viability of the Fund. He also chaired the Fund’s Investment Committee from 2000 to 2012.
    • The return of the Fund to a 100% vested benefits index, the regulatory test of solvency and actuarial viability of the Fund, which work included negotiating with the Church to top up the fund at minimal exposure.
    • The introduction of a new pension increase policy linking annual pension increases to the impact of investment returns, mortality and costs on the level of the vested benefit benefits index (VBI), thereby significantly reducing the probability of extra Church  funding being required.
    • The proposed re-opening of the Defined Benefit section of the Fund to new members and members who joined the fund from 2004. This proposal followed an intensive strategic review of the Fund undertaken by the Board’s Strategy Task Force which Robert chaired; a move that goes against general trends in the market towards accumulation approaches to retirement savings.
    • The major revision of the Constitution of Benefund Ltd and the Rules of the Fund.
    • Significant legislative and regulatory changes in superannuation which required many presentations to the Assembly Standing Committee and Synods on superannuation challenges and changes.

Whilst Robert has stepped down as Chair, we are delighted that he will continue as Deputy Chair until his retirement as a Trustee Director in November 2012, completing twenty distinguished years of service with the Fund.

In addition to the time he has generously devoted to the Fund, Robert has found time in retirement to work on a PhD, bringing together his  skills as an artist with his passion for the Mowanjum Aboriginal Community and their art. He has been anything but retired!

We wish Robert every blessing for the future, wait with interest for the awarding of a PhD, and trust that he can slow down!