DANNY CASEY is someone who gets things done. The 58-year-old newly appointed Chair of Catholic Super’s Board is not one to boast, but laughs that people would describe him as operating at a “high energy level”.
He’s recently returned from a two-and-a-half year stint living at the Vatican, as the Director of the fledgling Secretariat for the Economy for Vatican City.
In that short time he bought about massive and unprecedented change in the financial structure and economic transparency in the Catholic Church, introducing for the first time a set of financial management policies that meet or exceed world standards.
While it may take some years to complete the transformation, Pope Francis has signed the policies into law.
“One monsignor described it to me as the biggest change in 500 years in Vatican administration. I don’t know if that’s right, but it was nice of him to say it!” he said.
Prior to his position at the Vatican, Danny was Business Manager at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney – an operation that serves around 600,000 Catholics in Sydney, with a turnover of more than $1 billion.
During his 11 year tenure, he doubled the net assets of the Archdiocese and increased annual revenues and expenditure by 250 per cent.
And as CEO for World Youth Day 2008, he successfully navigated the huge logistical challenges which come with managing an event that attracted more international visitors than the Sydney Olympics and had a worldwide audience of more than 1.4 billion.
As impressive as his professional achievements are, it’s evident that Danny’s faith and values are the big driver of his career.
It is the alignment of his personal values with those of CSF – trust, integrity, respect, compassion and humility – which created the biggest magnet for him to become a part of the organisation.
“I was blown away that before I read what the values were, I actually picked most of them,” he remarked.
“I was watching the way people behave and this is a very authentic place. You don’t need to have the values up on the wall, it’s just the way we do things around here. It’s very powerful, it’s stark and it stands out.”
For Danny, CSF’s emphasis on the customer experience sets it apart from other organisations.
“People who come from the outside see it very clearly, we are actually living and delivering the customer experience,” he said.
“We’re not just in the superannuation business, we’re in the business of helping give long term financial peace of mind for people. That’s what we try and do. We look at it from a different end, from the member end, and that’s always been the case.”
In his time as Chair, Danny hopes to continue to expand on the work done by the Board and senior leadership team to ensure the best financial services for all stages of life for all members.
“The strategy has obviously been to focus on really making sure that our investment performance delivers for members to give them great returns, but also we need to give objective advice so people don’t worry, so people don’t make bad decisions, or at least that they understand the consequences of the decisions they make,” he said.
He said the recent acquisition of a bank had opened up more targeted services for members, such as loans, cards and savings accounts, so CSF could effectively meet members’ financial needs in all phases of life.
Danny is also keen to nurture a new generation of employees within the organisation.
“I’m very fortunate to have been coached by some wonderful leaders over my career and I couldn’t have done what I have done without that level of support and guidance. And I suppose one of the things I want to do is coach and guide. I want to pass that on,” he said.
“What I love doing is unlocking potential and helping improve performance, helping people do things they didn’t think they were capable of doing. We achieve great things together.”
Danny is CSF’s first Chair to be based in Sydney, signalling the ongoing growth of Catholic Super from a Melbourne-based fund to a national fund. This is something he sees as a strength, as he has ambitions to take board meetings to different parts of Australia to connect with more members.
He believes CSF has a ‘tremendous future’ and paid tribute to the work of outgoing Chair Peter Bugden in growing the operation during his tenure.
“I think the job that Peter did during his time as Chair was nothing short of outstanding,” Danny said.
“He’s a remarkable guy and it’s an honour to take the reins; something you do almost in trepidation. It was great to see the warmth and emotion that everyone has for him and it’s well placed – he’s a fine man, a great Australian, a wonderful servant of this organisation and all its members.”