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Aware Super completes VISSF merger

By Fergus Halliday
3 minute read

The move marks the third merger by the fund since the pandemic began.

Aware Super has completed its merger with the Victorian Independent Schools Superannuation Fund (VISSF).

Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart said that the merger would build on the fund’s offerings for those in the education sector.

“Through this merger we look forward to building on our leading offering for members in the primary and secondary education sector, and providing them with the right help, education, guidance and support to enable them to achieve the kind of retirement they deserve,” she said.

While Aware Super was already the one of the largest superannuation options in the Australian market, the move is set to bolster their coffers with another 60,000 new members.

In total, the fund estimates it now caters to an estimated 200,000 members working in the education sector.

With VISSF members officially absorbed into Aware Super as of this week, Ms Stewart said that the fund’s current priority was to support those members by ensuring that they are aware of and experience the benefits that come with being part of a larger fund.

“Our focus now is to ensure that we carry on the incredible legacy established by VISSF’s passionate and progressive founders more than 60 years ago and drive genuine economies of scale to provide all of our members with top performance and services, while striving to reduce our fees,” she said.

The merger process began back in March, when the two funds signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the benefits that a merger might bring.

While mergers and acquisitions within the super sector have accelerated in recent years, Ms Stewart emphasised the speed with which Aware Super had approached the process.

“Over the past two years we have learned some incredible lessons about how to make successful mergers happen – lessons we will look to deploy in future merger opportunities,” she said.

Aware Super’s latest merger follows a string of similar absorptions over the past 18 months that saw it add the funds and members of VicSuper and WA Super to its ranks.

“Our team’s experience and deep understanding of how to deliver what can be complex mergers in a streamlined and effective way means we have been able to deliver three mergers in less than two years and, along with that, provide numerous benefits to our members,” Ms Stewart said.

KPMG’s latest check in with the superannuation sector found that 2021 represented the highest level of merger activity that the firm had ever seen in a single year, with many smaller funds being absorbed into larger ones. 

KPMG superannuation advisory partner David Bardsley said that the firm expects this trend in consolidation to persist in the years to come.

“Currently, many funds are faced with the challenges arising from a lack of scale – and they are proactively investigating possible merger options in order to improve outcomes for their members,” he said.