AUSTRALIA - A proposed merger between Equipsuper and Vision Super has been postponed on the eve of the agreed date following objections from board members.
The merger, due to take place today (Friday), would have seen the transfer of Equipsuper's A$4.3bn (US$4.59bn) of assets under management into the Vision Pooled Superannuation Trust. However, at a meeting on 25 May, members of the A$4bn(US$4.27) Vision Super board of trustees objected to the governance processes of the proposed new board and did not sign off on proceedings.
The Vision Super board members come from the Australian Services Union (ASU) and, according to media reports, object to how the merged board would be elected.
"We are trying to work through this issue with the Vision Super board," Danielle Press, CEO of Equipsuper, told Global Pensions. "Equipsuper is committed to moving forward, provided we can move forward on the basis of best interest of members. At this stage, we're waiting on a response from Vision Super. After that, we will consider those options. We are committed to finding a way through this."
Equipsuper's board and management still believe a merger with Vision Super "is in the interests of members and would deliver tangible long-term benefits in areas of both investment and fund administration.
"Therefore, at this stage, we are still positioned to re-enter negotiations with Vision Super," the fund said in a statement to members on its website." If the merger with Vision Super fails, Equipsuper will seek an opportunity with another fund where there is benefit to members and employers.
The Equipsuper and Vision Super merger was first mooted two years ago. The federal government and industry professionals believe that the amalgamation of smaller superannuation funds is necessary to achieve economies of scale.
While Equipsuper wait to hear again from Vision Super, there will be no changes to the investment management and operations of Equipsuper, Press said.
"Assets will be run in the same way they have always been run at Equipsuper," she said. "Members will not feel any impact at all."
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