Why has Christian Super signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australian Ethical?
APRA (the regulator for Australian superannuation funds) has placed additional licence conditions on Christian Super that mean we must merge into another super fund.
After thoroughly evaluating a number of options, Christian Super signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Australian Ethical. The MoU allows both organisations to formally evaluate if transferring Christian Super members into the Australian Ethical Super Fund is in the best financial interests of members (a legal requirement that all super funds must meet when making decisions).
What will happen next?
The first stage of the process was for Christian Super to choose a fund to transfer its members into.
The next stage of the process (which is where we are now) is for Christian Super and Australian Ethical to complete a process called ‘due diligence’. During this stage, both organisations will share detailed information with each other and agree on any operating model changes.
At the end of this process, the Boards of both organisations will meet to sign a ‘Successor Fund Transfer (SFT) Deed’, if they both decide that they wish to proceed. An SFT means that all Christian Super members will be automatically transferred into the Australian Ethical Super Fund (the ‘Successor Fund’) on a future date of the merger, and the Christian Super fund will be closed.
Why did Christian Super choose Australian Ethical?
Before making a choice, Christian Super used an independent consultant to conduct a detailed review of a number of different options. At the end of the review, the consultant recommended a shortlist to our Board to consider. Some of the organisations on the shortlist took part in an ‘Expression of Interest’ process and submitted a detailed proposal for our Board to review. While all of the proposals were strong, Australian Ethical received the highest overall ranking based on the different factors that the Board used to evaluate the proposals.
Christian Super and Australian Ethical are both purpose-driven organisations with a shared commitment to promote human flourishing and environmental stewardship. While there are differences between the two organisations, we believe that we have more in common than not, and that the opportunity to transfer members into Australian Ethical is superior to the other opportunities that were explored.
Is anything changing straight away?
Nothing will change for Christian Super members and employers straight away. Once the due diligence is complete, we will communicate what will and won’t be changing, as well as an implementation timeline.
Will Christian Super members have a say in the decision?
Strategic decisions such as this, are made by Christian Super’s Trustee Board, who are responsible for ensuring that the Fund acts in members’ best financial interests. The nine directors that sit on the Trustee Board are a mixture of member-elected directors, Principal Sponsor (denomination and peak bodies for Christian education) appointed directors and an independent director. Members and employers will be kept up to date throughout the process.
When will the transition take place?
Assuming a decision to transition is made after the due diligence process is complete, it is likely that Christian Super members will be transferred into Australian Ethical within the next 12 months.
Will I still be able to talk to Christian staff or financial advisers about my super?
It is still too early to confirm exactly how things will work after the transfer, it is one of the areas that we will be working on during the due diligence process. Like Christian Super, Australian Ethical have an internal team who respond to queries from members, employers and advisers.
What investment option(s) will my super or pension balance be in after the transition?
While we have not completed a final transition plan yet, standard practice is to transfer a member’s money on an option-by-option basis to the most aligned investment option of the new super fund. In particular, if you are currently invested in My Ethical Super (Christian Super’s MySuper option), you will be invested in Australian Ethical’s MySuper product (their Balanced option) after the merger.
Once the transfer has been confirmed, and the transition plan is known, this information will be provided to members.
Will my super or pension be impacted? Will I lose any money?
The closing balance of your Christian Super account on the day that the transfer takes place will equal the opening balance of your new Australian Ethical account on day one of transition, so you will not lose any money because of the transaction.
While there are costs associated with a transition like this, it is intended that these will be covered by the existing fees paid by members. It is also expected, based on the information currently available, that members as a whole will be paying less in fees after the transition than they currently are.
Will my insurance cover and premiums change in the new fund?
While we have not completed a final transition plan yet, standard practice is for members to receive insurance coverage on par with their existing cover. This means that while coverage will not necessarily be exactly the same it will be provided to the closest aligned levels within the new policy.
If I have questions about this transition, who do I contact?
We will keep our members and employers updated as we go through this process and will communicate specific details as soon as we are able to. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us.