Two industry super funds have pushed back the date for their merger due to the COVID-19 global crisis.
Tasplan and MTAA Super were initially scheduled to merge on 1 October 2020, but have now extended the timeline to finalise the deal until 31 March 2021.
The funds said they reached the decision together after a joint recommendation between MTAA chief executive Leeanne Turner and Tasplan chief executive Wayne Davy to the chairs of both boards.
They said sustained market volatility and concerns about supplies of specialist services were key factors behind the extension.
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Despite the new timeline,?Turner said the decision behind the merger and the benefits to members of both funds remain unchanged.
"We still believe the merger is in the best interest of members of both funds," Turner said.
"A combined fund will provide greater efficiencies, improved products and services, increased capability, and better value to members. So, we remain fully committed to the merger — just with an extended time."
Turner acknowledged that recent restrictions as a result of COVID-19 have put extra strain on people.
"Clearly things have changed rapidly for all Australians in the last few weeks. We recognise the pressure that this is putting on our members and our staff, both at work and at home," she added.
"We think extending the merger timeline will ease stress and help our staff better manage workloads and their personal arrangements."
Davy said member support is a key priority for both funds, with members expressing concern about market volatility and financial hardship.
"Understandably, members are concerned about their retirement savings. And we'll likely see an increase in the number of people facing financial difficulties in the coming weeks and months," Davy said.
"By extending our merger timeline we can focus on getting members the service, advice, and support they need right now. That's always been a priority for us, but now it's more important than ever."