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It will be a case of third time lucky when we host our Annual New Year reception in Sydney on 28 January with Senator the Hon. Jane Hume, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy.

Initially the Senator had agreed to address the consultancy’s annual New Financial Year function in Melbourne in July 2020, which we had to postpone until November because of the pandemic, then postponed again.

It has become a good example of how the pandemic has affected events management, but shows how, with persistence and goodwill, aims can still be achieved even if changes to the approach are needed.

We are very grateful that Senator Hume stayed with her original commitment to us and continued to support our efforts to get an event off the ground one way or another. This includes changes as recently as this month to take into account the most recent restrictions.

We are looking forward to hearing her presentation which will cover areas that many in financial services are seeking clarity about, as well as hearing what issues are raised during the Q&A.

Last year in superannuation alone we saw initiatives such as draw-downs with early release superannuation, release of the government’s Retirement Review, the virus’ impact on superannuation savings and income, ongoing dispute over the proposed increase in the super guarantee charge, questions about the fiduciary duty of superannuation funds when it comes to climate changes, and new legislation.

Pandemic restrictions have made other changes necessary (and increased costs) for the event, such as having to change the format from a cocktail party to having all guests seated in a bigger venue to maintain social distancing. We’ve also had to make preparations to switch the Senator’s presentation to Zoom if required. So it’s been challenging but also exciting to get there.

The response we’ve had from guests has indicated that there is great interest in hearing in what Senator Hume has to say, and also that there are many people looking forward to attending an event in person and catching up with others in the industry face-to-face. We certainly are!

It will be our 14th New Year reception organised for the financial services industry, and we will also use it to relaunch the consultancy, announcing a new name and other initiatives.

Pandemic conditions have made life difficult, not only for us but all financial services organisations’ communications and business development activities. Just one example is people who started new jobs during the lockdown and only met their team for the first time after several months in the role.

At the same time, we believe 2021 will see a re-energised financial services environment as organisations seek to re-establish and enhance their brands, products and services after the pandemic lockdown.