Sunsuper and QSuper have been in talks since late 2019 to possibly merge the two retail super funds together and create a whole new ‘Goliath’ super fund. And that deal is now one step closer to completion, with the two funds having announced they had signed a Heads of Agreement on Monday 15 March, 2021.
The merged fund could rival or even replace AustralianSuper as the biggest super fund in the country, with Sunsuper and QSuper saying they were on track to create a $200 billion fund with 2 million members. AustralianSuper currently has around $191.42 billion worth of assets and around 2.1 million members, based on the latest data from industry regulator the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Following this latest announcement, the two super funds are now about halfway through the process of merging. Having said that, the whole deal is still contingent on a number of conditions needing to officially go through, with the final merger slated for September. Here’s what we know so far.
What’s the timeline for the merger?
If the merger passes conditions including regulatory, legislative and final board approvals, the new merged super fund will launch in September 2021. The timeline has just passed the ‘Heads of Agreement’ checkpoint, which means both Sunsuper and QSuper have signed an agreement outlining the key terms of the proposed merger and what the merged fund will look like.
Next steps will include ‘integration planning’ in the coming months, followed by plans for the merger to officially go ahead in September. From then, the actual integration of the funds will begin, which could take one to two years.
There could be a different name for the new super fund, to be decided during the integration planning happening between now and September. The new super fund is set to be headquartered in Brisbane.
What will the merger mean for Sunsuper and QSuper members?
According to the super funds, members don’t need to do anything at this time and the funds will keep you updated of any changes. Sunsuper and QSuper claim the new super fund will have the scale to deliver “outstanding services, greater efficiencies and lower costs” for members.
The merger is part of a broader trend sparked by calls from APRA for super funds to reduce complexity for members by merging. The regulator was given stronger powers to take action against the trustees of underperforming funds in early 2019, following recommendations made in the banking royal commission.
Here are answers to a few key questions you may have as a current Sunsuper or QSuper member.
What will happen to my account?
On the date of the merger, your account will transfer into the merged fund. Sunsuper or QSuper will get in touch with you beforehand to let you know the date and provide any details about how your account will be transferred.
Will there be any changes to fees?
Sunsuper has said it expects costs for members to reduce over time as a result of the merger with QSuper, but neither fund has specified if there will be any immediate changes in fees.
Will there be any changes to my investments?
Current Sunsuper or QSuper members may experience changes to their investment returns as a result of the merger. The funds say they plan to create an investment strategy and a range of investment options that build on the best of their current offerings.
What will happen to my insurance cover?
At this stage, the funds have said members’ existing insurance cover will remain the same during the integration planning stage of the merger, over the next few months to September. Any future changes to insurance cover offered by the new merged super fund will be communicated to members.