Link adds DB super fund to admin portfolio

Superannuation administration giant Link Group will migrate a defined benefit fund to its aaspire platform in the New Year and the timely client win comes as other funds finalise admin tenders.

Joining Link from next year will be defined benefit (DB) schemes attached to the Tasmanian Government-owned Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF). Mercer was the fund's previous administrator.

A Tasmanian Government spokesperson confirmed that RBF's trustee, the Office of the Superannuation Commission, has been working with Link and Mercer to make the administration switch in the first quarter of 2018.

This follows the trustee announcing it would outsource its investment arrangements to Russell Investments, which will oversee more than $2 billion in RBF's defined benefit funds.

Speaking to Financial Standard at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Conference in Sydney, Link Group chief executive fund administration Suzanne Holden said the firm continues to invest in its DB capabilities despite the sector's decline in recent years.

"Every time you do acquire a new DB fund, you build and increase the capability more," Holden said.

She added that specialist DB staff are tougher to find nowadays, however Link's scale means it can further build DB fund admin capabilities and maintain most of the same benefits that defined contribution members can access.

Holden still sees opportunities to grow the super admin business in Australia as about 50% of funds self-administer and she questions whether they can tackle what's to come.

"With the reform agenda the burden on [funds and] the members to invest just in the reform, never mind innovation, is huge," she said.

"For a fund to be able do that independently and be in-house administered is increasingly not viable."

Holden also revealed that Link's fund administration business is also only weeks away from migrating pension members from the Russell Investments Master Trust to the aaspire platform.

She said the migration process from Russell has included the on-shoring of jobs to Link's Rhodes office (inner west Sydney). The Russell trust previously off-shored admin operations in India before Link inherited the business. She added by the end of 2017 "we will no longer have an off-shore operation supporting those funds."

Read more: Link GroupRBFMercerNew YearSydneyRussell Investments Master TrustSuzanne HoldenAssociation of Superannuation Funds of Australia ConferenceFinancial StandardIndiaOffice ofRetirement Benefits FundRhodesSuperannuation Commission
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