Two more Australian pension funds explore merger in consolidation move

Sydney, Australia. Photo: Unsplash

Australian pension funds First State Super and WA Super are exploring a merger, the two funds said on Wednesday, in the latest sign of consolidation in an industry facing regulatory calls to put customers first.

Both pension funds, known in Australia as superannuation, are looking to complete due diligence of each other by the middle of 2020.

First State has more than A$105 billion ($69.29 billion) in assets, the companies’ statement said, while WA Super manages about A$4 bln in assets.

First State has nearly 8,000 customers in Western Australia, the home of WA Super. A merger would create a combined customer base for the fund there of about 60,000.

“We believe size and scale matter,” Deanne Stewart, First State Super’s chief executive said in a statement, which was echoed by Fabian Ross, her counterpart at WA Super.

Also on Wednesday, QSuper and Sunsuper, two other pension funds who have been in discussions since late 2019, said they signed a deal to conduct exclusive due diligence over a merger.

A merger by those two would create the country’s largest pension manager.

The move to consolidate stems from regulatory pressure on funds to find ways to deliver better returns for savers, including encouraging consolidation in the industry.

It comes after a public inquiry into Australia’s compulsory A$2.9 trillion ($1.91 trillion) pension system in 2018 found managers were charging large fees that were eating into workers’ savings.

First State Super and WA Super said a merger will reduce fees and help long-term returns.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.