Maritime Super’s chief executive, Peter Robertson, has defended his base salary of over $550,000 as “moderate” in comparison to other superannuation funds that have full in-house operations.
Answering questions from Liberal backbencher, Tim Wilson, on whether his pay and the chief investment officer’s pay was concerning given the fund’s investment mandate was outsourced and they were in the top quartile of super salaries, Robertson said anybody could pull statistics on what they found useful.
“We don’t have a CIO, we have a head of investments and finance. He heads up actuarial, insurance, finance, and investments and he will be going part-time later this year partly as a consequence of Hostplus arrangement,” Robertson said.
“In terms of the dollar per member, that’s a statistic, we can pull statistics that we find useful. If you pull salary for myself, chair, and CIO and anybody else based on average account balance, we’re one of the lowest paid.
“I think if you want to look at the salary paid to me and my team, you’d need to compare it to other funds with full in-house operations, administration and all the other functions we perform in house and in that I think you’ll find my salary is very moderate in comparison.”
Wilson replied: “Your CEO pay is reportedly a base salary of more half a million dollars with remuneration of up to $612,000 I wouldn’t call that modest under any circumstances do you?”.
Robertson then said it was “modest” in comparison to CEOs doing the same role.
“I would never consider that modest in comparison but then again this morning we heard about a $450,000 bonus which was argued as proportionally acceptable in comparison,” Wilson said.
“There seems to be a complete disconnect from reality of what modest or proportionate these days is. And I know there’s the argument around competitiveness in the sector but no-one is really seriously arguing that they’re modest even in comparison I hope.”
Robertson also revealed to the Parliamentary hearing that he received a bonus of $10,000 last financial year at the board’s discretion for his work involved in getting the Hostplus partnership across the line.
According to Maritime’s remuneration policy, Robertson received a base annual salary in financial year 2019-20 of $556,314, and the fund’s executive manager for investments and finance, Grant Harslette, received $422,982.