Small funds need to be very unique to deliver member outcomes if they do not want to merge to create a large fund, according to a panel.
Speaking on a Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF) online panel, Tasplan independent chair, Naomi Edwards, said it was clear when looking at member outcomes that very large funds were pulling ahead in terms of total return to members.
“The data is telling us that if you’re a funds with over $25billion in funds under management, your members get higher net returns for whatever the reason,” she said.
“Knowing this, trustees should really have a think about ‘should we target being in that group?’ because the data is very clear that very large funds are providing better member outcomes.”
However, Edwards noted that if funds had a “very unique value proposition”, and members were willing to pay for them, then it would be possible for a small fund to survive and thrive at its current scale because members valued their uniqueness.
“People often kid themselves in how unique they are I don’t think being a particular industry or geographic location makes you unique. If you have a unique value then you can be small,” she said.
“Otherwise you have to follow the numbers and the numbers show that larger funds for whatever reason are delivering better member outcomes.”
Also speaking on the panel, VicSuper chief executive, Michael Dundon, said that the challenge was for funds to recognise their model and position limitations.
“They need to let this go and be open to exploring new ways of operating their businesses whether that be an alliance, sharing resources, or a full-blown merger,” he said.
“They need to understand the benefits of scale and the fact that the very large funds are outperforming. I do think directors have a real obligation to consider the merits of a merger and form a view on a risks of not doing a merger.”