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ART brings AvSuper into fold with successful merger

By Jessica Penny
3 minute read

The country’s second largest super fund has completed its fourth SFT this past financial year, and welcomes almost 5,000 new members.

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has successfully merged with AvSuper, with more than 4,800 new members and $2.43 billion in funds under management (FUM) having now transferred to ART.

The two funds signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in February 2023 after a possible deal between AvSuper and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) fell through.

ART and AvSuper then signed a heads of agreement to proceed with the merger in August, the funds labelling the move a “critical and positive step forward” in the merger process after having completed extensive due diligence.

This marks ART’s fourth successor fund transfer (SFT) this financial year, following the funds’ mergers with Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank, and Alcoa.

ART’s chief commercial officer, Dave Woodall, said onboarding AvSuper is an important step in the growth of ART as it continues to expand in the interests of its 2.3 million members.

“We’re proud AvSuper has trusted us to help their members prepare well for retirement. The successor fund transfers we’ve successfully undertaken to date not only demonstrate our confidence and skill in this space but shows the value we offer,” Woodall said.

“Our more than 4,800 new members from AvSuper will benefit from Australian Retirement Trust’s global investment capability, award-winning financial advice services and dedicated member support, including digital tools and education seminars. We’re very excited to be supporting them with these offerings.”

By continuing to grow its national footprint, Woodall noted that the fund is “well on the way” to achieving its target of $500 billion in funds under management (FUM) by 2030.

AvSuper chief executive officer Michael Sykes confirmed that AvSuper considered ART an attractive choice as a merge partner due to its “similar culture and member-first alignment”.

“We first commenced the thorough process of finding a suitable merger partner back in 2021 and were impressed by the value ART offered our members,” Sykes said.

“With this merger, we worked hard for the best outcome for our members. We believe Australian Retirement Trust will continue to manage their retirement benefits in their best financial interests as we have done for over 30 years.”

In June, Sykes referenced comments from members who questioned why the merger is necessary when the fund was performing well.

“The impetus for the merger remains, regardless of accolades and positive numbers on spreadsheets. The phrase ‘past performance is not an indicator of future returns’ is relevant to the situation we are in,” he said at the time.

“Many things are factored into the long-term sustainability of a fund and changes in the overall landscape of the industry as well as changes in the demographics of our member base certainly impact our long-term sustainability.”