UniSuper obtains public offer licence

Industry super fund UniSuper will open its doors to more members after successfully varying its registrable superannuation entity licence to public offer status.

The $60 billion fund, which currently services about 400,000 current and former higher education and research employees, will extend its membership to spouses of existing members, and will expand eligibility to other family members.

In a statement, UniSuper made it clear that despite the variation, they have no intention to open the fund to the broader public.

"UniSuper's focus remains on the higher education and research sector," the fund said.

Financial Standard understands the new public offer licence was issued by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority earlier this year.

Over the past year, a number of industry super funds have moved to open membership to the general public.

In June 2016, Queensland government superannuation funds QSuper and LGIAsuper announced intentions to become public offer funds, while in July 2016, real estate employees fund REI Super similarly opened its membership.

Speaking to Financial Standard at the time, Rice Warner head of client relations Steve Freeborn noted that QSuper's scale and first-to-market initiatives could put significant pressure on other public funds, especially those domiciled in Queensland.

"There is absolutely a scale advantage for members in a fund of QSuper's size, and that's leveraged in the cost of the investment offering," Freeborn said.

"Now that it's going to be opened more generally, they will be a part of the wider landscape. Who is it most likely to affect? It's probably the funds in Queensland. Think about Sunsuper, which is at the moment the catchment for those employers and employee looking for a public offer fund in Queensland."

Read more: Public OfferUniSuperQueenslandFinancial StandardAustralian Prudential Regulation AuthorityREI SuperRice WarnerSteve FreebornSunsuper
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