Expanding the Horizon: Q&A with SuperRating’s new CEO, Kirby Rappell October 2017

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Last week at the SuperRatings' Fund of the Year awards, Kirby Rappell, a former analyst and head of research with the firm, was named as SuperRatings' CEO. Kirby speaks with Industry Moves about his enthusiasm for the new role and names some "significant projects” he plans to deliver. He also pays tribute to his predecessor, shares the best advice he's been given, and names the skills he has learnt from those who have influenced him most.

What are you most looking forward to in taking on your new role as CEO of SuperRatings?

Over the past nine years, I have been involved in all facets of the SuperRatings business. This has given me time to build ideas about the future of the industry and how we can be a pro-active part of this. I am extremely excited to lead a business that is uniquely placed to support the improvements in the retirement system that will be of benefit to everyday Australians. The level of competition in the market is definitely increasing and this provides exciting opportunities for us to be part of its growth and evolution.

What will you take away from working alongside your predecessor Adam Gee?

I was privileged to work with Adam over his time at SuperRatings and have learnt a huge amount from him. Adam had a significant impact on SuperRatings and helped transform our approach towards our people and clients. I have never met someone so adept at listening to clients and understanding their needs and I look forward to ensuring that we build on these foundations.

What are your goals for the role over the coming 12 months?

Over the next 12 months, I look forward delivering some significant projects for SuperRatings. This includes the launch of our Member Outcomes Report, which helps funds show that they are operating in the best interests of their members, the launch of a new platform for collecting all of our data and an increased ability for us to share our research across the industry.

You’ve been with SuperRatings since 2008, what’s kept you there?

It’s been a factor of both what we do and the people I have been fortunate to work with. There has never been a dull moment as we see the scale and capabilities of super funds growing rapidly. To research an industry of this size is fascinating and what we do is not a zero-sum game. If all providers are driving improvements to their members’ outcomes, all clients should see benefits in their future. I have also been fortunate to work with a great team. Those around me have been very encouraging and sought to help me expand my horizons and I look forward to ensuring we do this for our staff in the years to come.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life/career so far?

Through life, I have always sought to learn from all of the people around me. I have learnt public speaking skills from some, while other have taught me the ability to analyse. I am trying to learn patience from my wife Jen, who is amazing with our son, but I think this remains a work in progress.

What’s the best piece of advice that you have received?

Be happy to take on responsibility, the rest will look after itself.

What was your very first job?

Funnily enough, I worked selling motor boats during university to fund my studies. To be honest, driving around in boats didn’t really feel like work!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

I try to ensure that I have interesting things going on outside of work that take me away from it all. Having a 11 month-old at home has really reinforced the value of time and having a great circle of friends keeps me grounded.

If you weren’t working in financial services, where do you think you’d be?

If I wasn’t doing this, I would love to work in a Formula One team as an engineer.

What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I studied Pharmacology for a number of years but was a terrible scientist.

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