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ART takes next merger step by signing HOA

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ART has progressed another merger.

AvSuper and the Australian Retirement Trust (ART) have formally entered into a heads of agreement (HOA).

In a member update published late last week, AvSuper said the HOA confirms “the intention of both parties to proceed with the merge in good faith”.

“It’s a critical and positive step forward in serving our members best financial interests and comes after an extensive due diligence process,” the fund said.

The merger is expected to be completed on 30 April 2024.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done before the merger takes place,” AvSuper disclosed.

“Our working groups are continuing to plan and commence activity for this transition behind the scenes, including organising the transfer of the defined benefits accounts to ART.”

Just last week, ART confirmed it had successfully completed a successor fund transfer (SFT) with Woolworths Group and Endeavour Group.

The move, which is ART’s second largest SFT to date, saw more than 25,000 new members join the super fund and bring in an additional $4.3 billion.

As a result, ART’s total funds under administration now stand above $260 billion with a total membership of more than 2.3 million.

ART noted, at the time, that a number of other transfers are also currently underway, including with AvSuper, as well as Commonwealth Bank Group Super and Alcoa Super, all of which, it said, are expected to be completed this financial year.

“At Australian Retirement Trust, our vision is to be Australia’s most chosen and trusted retirement partner, and our recent mergers signal the confidence from corporate Australia in what we offer,” said ART chief commercial officer Dave Woodall on the occasion.

As of June’s conclusion, AvSuper’s assets under management totalled $2.3 billion, while its membership counted 4,971 individuals.

Its Growth (MySuper) investment option returned 11.4 per cent for accumulation members in financial year 2022–23, while the Balanced Growth Option returned 9.2 per cent for pension members.

“In a year of continuing market volatility, we achieved improved performance across all investment options,” the fund said.

“Whilst we all appreciate that there will be the occasional year of negative returns in any long-term investment strategy, we are still happy to leave them behind and return to positive territory.”

ART’s Super Savings Balanced option returned 10 per cent in FY23. Last month, the fund said it owed its strong performance and expected ongoing growth to its approach to valuations.