Australian Retirement Trust explores third merger this year

Australian Retirement Trust, Brisbane, is exploring a merger with the A$2 billion ($1.3 billion) Australia Retirement Plan, Melbourne, marking ART’s third merger announcement this year.

ART, which is one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds with A$240 billion in assets, signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia Retirement Plan, also known as Alcoa Super, on March 14, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The super funds will now start a due diligence process to decide if they will proceed with a merger.

“It’s important to acknowledge though that our focus isn’t on growth for growth’s sake. Rather, we’re looking at well-considered and strategic approaches to grow our fund in a way that benefits our members,” ART’s Chief Executive Officer Bernard Reilly said in the statement.

The MOU marks ART’s third merger exploration deal this year after it signed similar agreements with the A$12.3 billion Commonwealth Bank Super, Sydney, and the A$2 billion AvSuper, Canberra, both in February.

ART is itself a product of mergers, having been created last year through a series of mergers. The super fund aims to reach A$500 billion in funds under management by 2030. Over the last year, it grew its funds by A$40 billion and gained 200,000 members.

“Mergers and transitions are just one aspect of our growth channels, which also include pursuing growth through member direct and retail financial advisers,” Mr. Reilly said.

“Our merger last year to become Australian Retirement Trust was really just the starting point and laid the foundation for our future growth strategy,” he said.