Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia

Michael Traill

Michael Traill, the Founder of Social Ventures Australia has announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO, at the annual SVA Oration, at the NSW House of Parliament last night. His exit will be sadly be effective October this year and will be succeeded by Rob Koczkar, the current Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners.

Traill has been responsible for creating one of Australia’s foremost social investment enterprises, investing $45 million in over 40 projects in the last 12 years – not to mention leading the SVA consulting team to complete around 550 projects for more than 300 clients nationally. His legacy has left a strong network of government and corporate partners and donors, and has built an enviable team that will continue to invest in transformational Australian social enterprise to build for a sustainable future.

Traill’s full speech was a real call to arms about what is and isn’t being done in Australian philanthropy. He noted, most vehemently that the way Australia funds social change is ‘inefficient and dysfunctional’. Traill spoke of his frustration around the difficulty of involving large investors, saying that ‘the roadblock in this country is that it is very hard to get funders to provide the significant chunks of capital needed for sustainability’.

Many funders are uncertain about what outcomes they want from their investment, so are unwilling to direct significant funds on a whim. Robust reporting mechanisms and measurement of outcomes over the long term is needed to focus future strategy and investment and Traill cites this lack of long term strategy as the funding disconnect affecting real investment in change. He also makes the point that social enterprise needs to engage exceptional talent to attract the investment of corporates, and to enable strategic discussions at the highest levels.

Traill also highlighted the untapped resource of institutional investors, like insurance and superannuation funds. Whilst these investors rarely need to look at ESG risks, and have vastly different long term strategies based on member needs, they still have access to $1.8 trillion in Australia that could, in some part be used for impact investing. Traill’s speech certainly was an outline of what needs to be done in this country to effect real social and sustainable change, and it is worthwhile digesting in full – click here to read it all.

Sustaining People wishes Mr Traill well in his life after SVA, and hopes that he will continue to campaign for better government leadership, involvement of mainstream institutional investors, a stronger social enterprise talent pool and Bill Gates style ‘catalytic philanthropy leadership’.