Meet Our New Chief Investment Officer Mark Rider

Mark Rider has joined the Christian Super family in the last two months as our new Chief Investment Officer (CIO). We are thrilled to welcome Mark to the team and we look forward to hearing from him periodically throughout the year.

We wanted to give Mark the opportunity to introduce himself to you. Read on for our interview with Mark to learn a little more about him…

What does a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) do?

The CIO leads the team that is responsible for making decisions on Christian Super’s investments. There are two key steps in this process. Firstly, we determine the mix of different asset classes, such as shares, bonds and property, for diversified options such as My Ethical Super.

Then a decision needs to made about what specialist fund managers we use to get the exposure to these assets. My team oversees the implementation of this and continually monitors Christian Super investments to ensure we are achieving the best possible outcomes for our members.

What do you love about your job?

There is always something new and challenging every day. I’m fascinated by how economies work (or at times why they don’t!) and how financial markets respond to and impact economic events.

This all has a profound impact on the wellbeing of our society in terms of whether people have jobs, can buy a home or have enough savings for their retirement. My job puts me in a position to then apply my understanding of how all this comes together to assist thousands of our members achieve their retirement goals and do it in a way that is consistent with their faith, is ethical and has a positive impact on society.

Looking back on your career, are there any defining moments that led you to where you are right now?

The defining moment for me came in my final years of school when I studied commerce and economics. I enjoyed learning about how society organised itself economically and financially to bring about the world that we live in. I wasn’t quite sure how to make a career out of this interest, but I thought a Bachelor of Economics degree was a good start. These studies led to an economist role at the Reserve Bank of Australia more than 3 decades ago. How times flies!

Who inspires you and why?

Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and Princeton University Professor. Ben was the head of the US central bank leading up to and during the GFC which made him was responsible for the setting of interest rates and the financial stability of the US economy.  Ben had spent a lot of his professional life as an economist studying the Great Depression of the 1930s, what went wrong and the lessons to be learnt from this.

If ever there was a man for the moment this was it. What I admire is he had the knowledge, the judgment and determination to apply his lifetime of academic studies in the real world by crafting a financial response by the US Federal Reserve to help avoid repeating the economic calamity that was the Great Depression.

What does it mean to you to work for an organisation that serves Christian members? What do you believe you bring to Christian Super?

The great thing about working for Christian Super is the alignment that it brings between my job and my beliefs. There’s a large world out there of investment opportunities that we can choose from. What is special about Christian Super is I’m charged with not just delivering the returns our members need for their retirement savings but also to do it in a way so that our members can “invest in what they believe in”.

For Christian Super, along with bringing a career of experience in financial markets, investment management and leadership of investment organisations, I bring a strong Christian faith that is critical to delivering the mission, ethics and impact of the fund.

What guiding principles help you to make decisions in your leadership and work life?

In both these spheres of life my approach, putting it concisely, is to do the right thing and to treat everyone with respect. In a super fund such as Christian Super it is all about doing what is in the best interest of you, our members – it’s your money.

This is the lens through which I view all the decisions we make about the investment. Furthermore, the Gospels provide guidance for what is right in terms of how we invest and what forms the basis of leadership decisions, for example leading us to invest to promote human flourishing and recognise a responsibility to act as God’s steward for creation.

What is the best financial advice you received in your formative years?  

Take a long-term perspective. Ensuring financial security is never just an overnight success. This means not putting off starting to invest in super when you are young because retirement is many years away. Every little bit helps, and time is your friend – the power of compounding of returns works in your favour when you are young. Also, when we look over a run of years, the wild swings that share markets and other investments have from year to year, are less concerning as the invest grows.

What do you look forward to in your retirement?

After a busy life of working I hope it provides time to focus on things which didn’t get as much attention while I worked. In particular having time to just enjoy each precious day of life surrounded by family and friends rather than constantly living life at a frantic pace.

I look to continue to contribute to the community in some way, most likely to be through my church and its ministries.  And it would be nice to travel and see more of the world  – it’s still a few years away so hopefully coronavirus won’t be an issue then.