"Remaining true to yourself while effecting meaningful change": Q&A with AMIST's new Head of Governance March 2018
In doing a favour for a friend, Rebecca Fletcher took her first step into the industry eleven years ago, embarking on a career in super that saw her spend a decade with Sunsuper before her recent appointment as AMIST's head of governance. Rebecca tells Industry Moves that she is excited to experience the “hands on environment” that a smaller fund can offer. She also speaks on the integration of regulation technology, touches on her upbringing in Northern NSW and offers advice for industry newcomers that will set them “miles ahead” of the pack.
- What initially attracted you towards a career in the finance industry?
I actually fell into finance by accident, which I think is quite common in the superannuation industry. I studied Law and Chemistry at uni with ideas of becoming a forensic scientist (this was before CSI was popular on TV, I swear!). However, in my final year of uni a good friend working in communications in the super industry asked if I could help out with translating a major legislative change into plain English for their PDS update, and my career in super was born. From there I quickly learnt a lot about the world of superannuation. I really enjoyed the constantly changing landscape and the challenges it brings, which is why I have stayed in the industry.
- What are your key goals for this role over the coming 12 months?
In 12 months time I would like to be able to say that I have helped AMIST continue their governance journey by building on current practices and taking them to the next level. I believe my experience in a large industry fund can help AMIST pinpoint the governance practices that not only meet regulatory requirements but also provide practical day-to-day relevance and guidance to the company.
- Following over ten years with your previous employer, what lead you to make the change to a new fund?
I really wanted to get back to the 'hands on' environment of a smaller trustee office. Plus after almost 11 years with my last employer, it felt like time for a new challenge. AMIST provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.
"It felt like time for a new challenge. AMIST provided the perfect opportunity to do just that."
- What kind of technologies are currently being used in the superannuation industry to assist with regulatory and compliance issues and how do you see this evolving in the future?
This is a space that is just starting to come into its own. There are a number of Governance, Risk and Compliance tools being developed which are really aiming to help integrate risk and compliance into everyday business practices, rather than being seen as stand-alone requirements. I think the future challenge will come in working out how these tools can integrate with system automation and straight-through-processing to ensure companies continue to meet their legislative obligations and can adapt easily to change without as much human intervention.
- What was your very first job?
My first job was at Cookie Man when I was 14 years old. We made our own cinnamon and iced donuts, needless to say I was very popular at parties!
- Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Lismore in Northern NSW. It is a really beautiful part of the country – something I didn’t fully appreciate until I moved away. The local community is made up of a wide cross-section of people and lifestyles which I am grateful for having been a part of – it gave me a really good grounding in being open to different ideas, experiences and people which has helped me immensely throughout my career.
- Who had had the biggest influence on your life/career so far?
One of my English teachers at high school had a big impact on me at the time. She taught me to trust in myself and my ideas, and to continue to speak up even if others didn’t agree. I’ve also been fortunate to have a number of fantastic leaders in my career who have shown me that it is possible to remain true to yourself and your ideas while effecting meaningful change.
- What advice would you offer to an industry newcomer?
The superannuation industry is constantly evolving. There are opportunities in all aspects of the industry to really drive change – whether it is in the governance and regulatory space, or in user experience and customer engagement or technology. My advice would be, no matter which area you are focused on, you should develop a good base knowledge of superannuation and the regulatory environment it sits in. This will really help set you apart from others – if you can develop software or design customer journeys that capture and reflect the super environment you will be miles ahead already.
- …and what’s a piece of advice that has stuck with you?
- If you weren’t working in the finance industry, what would you like to be doing?
I'd like to be solving crimes!