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Mega fund bolsters efforts to be ‘merger partner of choice’

By Rhea Nath
3 minute read

Aware Super has announced a key senior appointment who is tasked with identifying merger opportunities and executing the fund’s inorganic growth strategy.

Craig Stevens has been named head of corporate development at Aware Super.

In the newly created role, his responsibilities include the identification of fund merger and acquisition opportunities and execution of the fund’s inorganic growth strategy. Additionally, he will contribute to Aware Super’s enterprise strategy through external research, trends, and insights.

He will report to group executive for member growth, Steve Travis.

“Throughout his stellar career, Craig has been at the forefront of the rapidly evolving super industry and is uniquely positioned to understand the inherent strengths that Aware Super will bring to any future partnership,” said Travis.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Craig into this new role, which will set new benchmarks for the industry to follow through our leading administration system which is reimagining retirement in this country for all Australians.”

He added that the $175 billion fund is “uniquely positioned” to be a merger partner of choice.

Commenting on his appointment, Stevens described Aware Super’s digital administration platform as “the envy of the industry”, explaining that it can “seamlessly integrate new merger partners and offer bespoke member experiences”.

“This, coupled with their award-winning investment performance and innovative product offerings including their insurance and MySuper Lifecycle product, make them a compelling market proposition,” he said.

“I look forward to shaping the industry’s conversation around Aware Super’s unique value proposition and its ability to deliver exceptional experiences for its members.”

Stevens joins the fund after four years at Vanguard Australia, where he was most recently head of strategic growth and performance. His responsibilities included business planning, corporate development and business performance for Vanguard’s retail personal investor division.

He previously served as head of strategy and corporate development at Sunsuper, where he helped shape and deliver the fund’s strategic plan, including member outcomes and the business planning framework. In this role, he was also tasked with the identification and delivery of alliance and M&A opportunities and served as chair of the project steering committee for small successor fund transfers. Sunsuper merged with QSuper to create Australian Retirement Trust in 2022.

Stevens was also chief executive at AustSafe Super, the industry super fund for rural and regional Australia, for 12 and a half years before it merged with Sunsuper in March 2019.