CEO and Managing Director’s Report

“I am proud of how we have continued to support our people, our clients and the community, and deliver for our shareholders during another year of uncertainty and change. I'd like to thank the Board and the team at Link Group for the warm welcome that they have given me in my first year in the organisation.”

Supporting Our People

The health and wellbeing of our people was and remains a key priority, and we have made good progress this past year in developing new initiatives and resources to better support and develop our people.

Commencing in the role, my focus was to get to know and understand our clients, our people, our shareholders and our other stakeholders. Our people are one of our greatest assets, so learning more about them and how best to support them became a primary focus when I commenced. COVID-19 presented its challenges in that respect, with travel and border restrictions making it impossible to meet all of our team in person. Nonetheless, I have been able to meet almost everyone through a series of virtual round tables and town halls, including some in person where permitted and safe.

I’ve learnt that Link Group has talented, passionate people who strive to do their best for our clients on a daily basis. It is warming to see the strong collaborative culture that exists and the focus on going above and beyond for our clients. Continuing to support our people is a strong focus of our organisation, and I am pleased that we have made good progress in this area during FY2021.

Our New Values and Recognising Our People

In FY2021 we launched our refreshed purpose, ‘connecting people with their assets’, and introduced new values - Client Focused, Adapt and Evolve, and Together We Achieve. Our values underpin everything we do and how we do it, and I am delighted to see how well our people have embraced them. Our focus is to truly live and breathe our values every day and to recognise and reward those who do.

To that end, we followed the launch of our new values with ‘Appreciate’, our global recognition program that publicly recognises people who are living our values, through an innovative social media style feed and mobile app. This has been extremely well received by our people, with over 2,700 recognitions awarded on the platform in the first 60 days of its launch.

Hearing from Our People

Earlier this year, we conducted an employee pulse survey followed by ‘Link Listens’, our first global employee engagement survey, both of which received strong response rates. Providing our people with the ability to speak up and voice their feedback, as well as taking the time to address these is key and with over 15,000 comments received, Link Listens has provided the leadership team and me with some genuine, valuable insights and a deeper understanding of our people.

The survey showed that our people believe we are doing a lot of things really well; they understand their contribution to Link Group and importantly, believe we are providing equal opportunities. They also told us there are things we can do better. The leadership team and I have a clear action plan in place to address these opportunities and continue to provide regular updates to our people on our progress.


With COVID-19 continuing to present its challenges through its multiple variants, we have invested in supporting our people through a number of initiatives:

  • Through Link Wellness, all our people have access to physical and mental wellness tools and support, including online advice and information, complimentary webinars and access to our Employee Assistance Programs.
  • Through our new FlexTogether ‘blended working’ program, we are co-designing with our people the working arrangements to best support them to work flexibly as a permanent feature of how we work, as well as safe ways to return to working in the office where permissible.
  • While COVID-19 has impacted all of us, in FY2021 we saw the devastating impact it had on India in particular. As a business, we made a donation to the PM CARES Fund for COVID-19 relief efforts in India, while our people rallied in some of our offices in Australia to hold their own morning tea fundraisers to support their colleagues in India. We also provided access and facilities on-site to vaccinate 60% of our people in India with at least their first dose at the end of FY2021, with this vaccination initiative ongoing.

With remote working continuing in many of our locations, we have opened up multiple, new channels of communication via polls, surveys, videos, our Intranet, town halls, round tables and also a weekly blog, so that we can all stay connected. Continuing to hear from, learn about and supporting our people will be my ongoing priority and I look forward to one day being able to meet everyone in person.

Supporting Our Clients

We are focused on simplifying the connectivity between financial market participants and enhancing the engagement experience for end-users, by leveraging the expertise of our people combined with our technology, digital connectivity and data analysis and insights. In FY2021, we focused on providing innovative solutions to make it easier and simpler for our clients to support their own customers, and on continued service excellence to our clients.

Virtual and Hybrid Meetings

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, we have been able to support our clients to safely engage with their members and shareholders, through the use of our proprietary virtual meeting technology. This has allowed over 2,000 virtual and hybrid meetings to be held in FY2021; a significant increase from FY2020.

This capability won ‘Digital Platform of the Year’ in Financial Standard’s 2021 Marketing and Sales Excellence Awards. It has also proven to be a strong cross selling opportunity, with the platform now being used by our superannuation fund clients and unlisted companies with their members and listed company clients with their shareholders.

Corporate Transactions

FY2021 has also proven to be a busy, active year for our Corporate Markets team. We supported 42 listed issuers across the ASX and NZX in raising over A$13 billion via various pro-rata accelerated offer structures. Also in Australia, we managed the Woolworths demerger and supported the Endeavour Group listing. With over 400,000 shareholders and 28,000 employees, Endeavour is now an ASX Top 50 client and achieved a A$10.8 billion market capitalisation on entry to the ASX.

In the UK we supported numerous Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) including the Moonpig Group PLC IPO which launched with a market capitalisation of £1.2 billion, and Tinybuild Inc - the largest US company to ever list on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). We also delivered the highest number of IPOs in India, including some of the largest in the country. These included CAMS, Gland Pharma, Burger King, Indigo Paints and Nazara, with more in progress for FY2022.

Support During COVID-19

After mobilising within weeks in FY2020 to deliver on the Australian Government’s Early Release of Super (ERS) scheme, the scheme came to an end on 31 December 2020. Throughout the duration of the scheme, our RSS team facilitated over 2.4 million ERS transactions, totalling approximately A$18 billion in payments to Australians experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Also in response to COVID-19, our BCM team supported banks, non-bank lenders and debt purchasers across the UK and Ireland to implement payment breaks for over 9,000 of our clients’ customers.

Supporting Superannuation Fund Members

The continued investment we are making in experience-led, technology enabled solutions such as digital, data, user experience and personalisation has seen the renewal of 70% of RSS business, including key clients such as Cbus Super, HESTA, Hostplus, BUSSQ and Christian Super. We were also appointed to establish and manage the new Hostplus Service Excellence Centre, which saw Hostplus transition their Contact Centre, Communications, Complaints and Employer Servicing functions to Link Group, from 1 March 2021.

FY2021 also saw our clients navigate the changing market landscape, with mergers increasingly featuring within the superannuation sector. We supported several of our clients in this space, completing the Ausfund transition into Hostplus in May 2021, with the Club Plus Super and LUCRF into Australian Super, Media Super into Cbus Super and Statewide into Hostplus transitions currently in progress.

Expanding our European Capabilities for Fund Solutions Clients

Following our announcement on 23 December 2020, we received regulatory approval and completed our acquisition of Casa4Funds in August 2021. Casa4Funds is one of Europe’s oldest independent third-party Management Companies (ManCo) and Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM), headquartered in Luxembourg.

With Casa4Funds on board, our clients will be able to leverage the combined strengths, experience and capabilities of Fund Solutions and Casa4Funds. As Europe’s largest investment fund centre, Luxembourg is a key market with a wide range of traditional and alternative asset classes, including private equity, infrastructure, real estate and debt. This acquisition will be integral to broadening our Management Company capability in this region and supporting our continued growth objectives to expand further in Europe.

Supporting Our Community

We remain committed to building a more sustainable future by being a responsible business - one that effectively manages the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities that are important to us and our stakeholders.

In addition to the progress in these areas as mentioned in the Chair’s message in FY2021:

  • We aligned our climate strategy to the Paris Agreement which seeks to limit global warming to below 2 degrees. We have set short, medium and long-term climate targets with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including an aspirational target to be net zero by FY2030.
  • We joined the Australian Sustainable Finance Institute (ASFI) as one of its founding members. Along with other ASFI members, we seek to help drive and coordinate the delivery of the Sustainable Finance Roadmap, an action plan spanning the next decade.
  • We successfully revamped and relaunched our CSR strategy, LinkTogether For Good, which supports education for the disadvantaged and vulnerable in the communities in which we operate. We established six community partnerships in our key regions of Australia, the UK, Ireland and India. While the pandemic continued to limit in-person volunteering, we continued to give back to the communities through virtual fundraising and contributed over A$320,000 in financial and non-financial support to our charitable and community partners in FY2021. We have also set an initial community target to more than double our giving by FY2025.

Delivering for Our Shareholders

In taking on this role, I recognised that we have a good business with solid fundamentals, great people and clients, and a strong upside for the taking. We have a diversified, resilient financial profile, with a strong international footprint, leading market positions in core markets and a customer base that includes some of the world’s leading blue-chip global financial institutions. All of this gives us a solid platform to build upon for future organic and inorganic growth opportunities.

Following an expansive period of acquisition-led growth, I believe it is time to reframe our strategy to focus on how we Simplify, Deliver and Grow to transform Link Group into a growth oriented, technology-led business and in doing so, create value for our shareholders.

Since initially outlining our strategy in December 2020, I am pleased to report that we have been delivering against our objectives.


  • Strategic view to portfolio management: divestment of Link Market Services South Africa completed in November 2020 and we elected not to pursue the acquisition of Pepper European Servicing in January 2021.
  • Created a look through value of our interest in PEXA with the successful IPO of PEXA in June 2021.
  • Simplified our operating model and financial reporting to make the business easier to understand. Our business unit realignment now reflects our four global business units. This has led to increased empowerment and accountability within the business.


  • Delivered new clients and major client renewals, including Corporate Markets’ clients BP p.l.c. and Qantas Airways, RSS clients Cbus Super, HESTA and Hostplus, Fund Solutions clients BlackRock, Vanguard and Temple Bar Investment Trust and BCM client Avant Money.
  • Progressed our global transformation program, leveraging our global hubs in Leeds, Melbourne, Maynooth and Mumbai. The program has delivered gross run rate benefits of $42 million to date, with $23 million of benefits in FY2021 alone.
  • Free cash flow of circa $139 million, improved operating cash conversion rate of 114% and delivering a total dividend of 10.0 cents per share for shareholders.


  • Increased cross sell and broadening of services provided to clients, for example with virtual meetings and our appointment to establish the Hostplus Service Excellence Centre.
  • Leveraging our technology and scale, for example via our Smart Pension partnership in the UK. The Smart Pension Master Trust that we service now consists of a member base of over 800,000 and £1.9 billion in funds under management. With the UK market mirroring characteristics of the Australian market, this presents a strong future growth opportunity.
  • Expansion into new markets, for example into Luxembourg, Europe’s largest investment fund centre, via our Casa4Funds acquisition.

Positioning for The Future

I would like to thank all our people for their dedication and commitment during an unprecedented year. Our ability to work together is why we have been able to navigate successfully through this period – adapting and evolving the way we work to keep our people safe, deliver for our clients, deliver shareholder value and continue to support the community.

I would also like to thank my Executive Leadership Team, and in particular wish to acknowledge the contributions of Janine Rolfe, Susan Ring and Robbie Hughes, who departed Link Group in FY2021. In turn, we welcome Sarah Turner, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Antoinette Dunne, CEO of BCM, and Nicole Pelchen, the incoming Chief Technology Officer, who will join us from October 2021.

We recognise embracing and harnessing individual differences and gender equality brings the breadth of perspective and depth of experience critical to our success. As we strive to be an organisation where our people are reflective of the diverse clients we support, and their customers throughout the world, I am pleased that with the appointment of Nicole Pelchen, the Executive Leadership Team will achieve a 50:50 gender representation.

Finally, but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to our clients, shareholders and the Link Group Board.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, we are focused on reinvesting in the business, building stronger capabilities to tailor solutions for our clients, and positioning the organisation to harness the opportunities presented with favourable tailwinds in the sector. We are confident that we have strong opportunities ahead of us and that we have the right people, skill sets, technology and solutions to be successful and deliver, especially on our medium to long-term strategy.

Vivek Bhatia
CEO and Managing Director