Rosemary Vilgan, CEO of Qsuper was named Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year at Crown Melbourne on 14 November 2013.
After hearing the voices of people whose superannuation savings were slashed by the Global Financial Crisis, Rosemary Vilgan and her team introduced QSuper Lifetime, a product that she says is designed to give members “dignity in retirement.” It provides a more tailored investment strategy based on the age and savings of a cohort of individual members and the economic cycle, integrated with financial advice.
Ms Vilgan said the GFC left the retirement plans of many Australians in disarray. “It made me realise that it is the outcome for individual members that matters, not a comparative rate of return against other funds.”
Ms Vilgan was a technical specialist who helped establish QSuper, a universal superannuation scheme for Queensland public sector employees, in 1990 and became CEO in 1998. Recognising inequities of contributions, particularly for women, she negotiated an equalisation of the contribution rate for all State Government employees.
She also led major structural changes in QSuper that allowed it to be federally regulated in 2009.
A member of the Council of QUT and the Federal Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council, Ms Vilgan served on the Board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia for 15 years and was Chairperson for six. She says she was influenced to use superannuation policy to bring dignity in retirement by respect for her father and his older siblings.
Ms Vilgan described herself as “a doer, not content to sit on the sidelines but seek the right solution. I believe I have shown a strong commitment to social justice and hard work.”
“Rosemary Vilgan’s passion is to give Australians dignity in retirement and control of their own destiny. The judges described her as a vibrant, inspirational woman who has flipped an industry on its ear by putting the customer experience in the centre of everything,” said Telstra Chief Operations Officer, Kate McKenzie.
“Moved by seeing people desolate, after the GFC cut 30 per cent of their wealth overnight, she has led a huge organisational and industry policy change.”