The role of small funds post-mergers

Although open to mergers with other smaller funds, CareSuper’s chief executive, Julie Lander, says there will be a role for small to mid-sized players following industry merger activity.

Appearing on the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) website, Lander said while smaller funds like CareSuper had faced some challenges, they had also demonstrated through fund award nominations that they could compete with bigger funds.

“We’ve won a range of awards and been shortlisted for the SuperRatings fund of the year for many years, even though we’re not the biggest fund,” she said.

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Lander said it would not be the best outcome if the industry was left with a handful of homogenous mega funds.

“Just as with other industries, consumers need a few alternative models with different value propositions,” Lander said.

According to Lander, regulatory pressure had increased over the course of her time as CEO of CareSuper, impacting its boardroom.

“We’ve always had diligent directors who take their roles seriously and have members’ interests at the top of mind, but I think there’s a different level of engagement now, just as there is in any company these days,” she said.

“Over the last 20 years, superannuation has become much more complex, and the rules have changed for directors – now they’re more stringent than for directors of a public company.  I think there is just a different perspective on industry fund boards now.”

She also wanted the purpose of superannuation to be enshrined in legislation, stating superannuation was not the panacea for all problems.

“Legislating the purpose of super would put an end to all the side conversations such as proposing that early access to superannuation should be allowed for various reasons, including to help home ownership and the like,” Lander said.

“I absolutely agree that home ownership and secure living arrangements are critical issues but that is not the purpose of super.”

“Once it’s legislated, it will be clear what super is for – and that is retirement income.”

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