$26bn joint venture takes off, poised for growth

Colleagues working at laptop

Two top-10, profit-to-member superannuation funds today successfully joined forces, paving the way for other funds to join. Governed by a new, skills-based board of 12 directors, Equip and Catholic Super’s $26 billion venture will manage funds for 150,000 members with an aspiration to be a much larger entity by 2025.

Andrew Fairley, Chairman, said the unique tie-up sets the scene for further industry consolidation. “This is a new dawn and a new era for super mergers as we scale up to benefit members under an extended public offer (EPO) licence,” he said.

“At a time when funds are being urged to merge, Equip and Catholic Super have a rare opportunity to be one of the industry’s great growth stories. We’re open for business with an APRA-approved licence, attractive to funds that are keen to drive down costs while maintaining their distinctive brands and member engagement that they’ve always been known for.

“While other funds are talking about merging, Equip and Catholic Super are ‘getting on with it’. The EPO licence was issued three years ago. The Catholic Super Board has had the courage to embrace the model, breaking new ground while being agile, innovative and aware of the reform backdrop that is shaping the future of our super industry.”

Danny Casey, Deputy Chair (former Catholic Super Chair), noted the new model’s member benefits. He encouraged other funds to follow suit and consolidate under a ground-breaking house-of-brands model that grows funds under management.

“As trustees we have a firm obligation to act in our members best interests. With the industry being challenged to consolidate further, funds that are seeking to ensure they can deliver sustainable member outcomes are encouraged to be part of this new and innovative approach. We’ve studied this model and unlocked the potential to join forces and maintain our super fund’s heritage. Those who join can retain their distinct identity that attracted members to their fund of choice in the first place. For example, our Catholic Super members, who care for and educate millions of Australians every day, will retain their high-performing brand and exceptional service from their award-winning, in-house service centre.”

Further bolstering both funds’ strong history of exceptional performance, consistently ranking in top-10* superannuation fund league tables, a new chief executive was announced in August to head both funds. Scott Cameron has extensive experience leading integrated operations and bringing diverse businesses together. More recently, Anna Shelley was confirmed as the inaugural Chief Investment Officer for both funds, managing assets and investments under the $26 billion joint venture model.

*Source: SuperRatings (SR) Fund Crediting Survey, 15-year investing period – Balanced Index, August 2019. SR factors in both performance and risk factors. Both funds have exceeded the industry benchmark (average) for performance over this longitudinal period of time, demonstrating sound investing strategies and policies.