By design, Australia’s existing superannuation system reproduces inequalities built into the labor market. This is because employers must pay super as a proportion of wages into individual accounts that then earn compounding returns. Upon retirement, high-income workers may find they own a significant pool of capital.
Meanwhile, lower-income workers — disproportionately women — retire with the lowest super balances. The same will be true of younger or marginalized workers who are trapped in precarious or informal employment. As wages continue to decline and precarious work becomes more prevalent, the number of people with a stake in defending superannuation is shrinking year by year.
To make matters worse, in its present form, superannuation undermines genuinely redistributive institutions like the age pension. This is because conservative political forces are able to present them as a last-resort safety net rather than a guarantee of the right to a decent retirement.
The mega-merger reflects the rapid consolidation of Australia’s A$3 trillion pension industry after a 2018 inquiry found fees charged by some managers were unjustified and eroded workers’ savings, and that many funds were not putting customers’ interests ahead of their own.
The government has since made it mandatory for funds to put member interests first, triggering a wave of mergers as fund boards determine that scaling up results in a better deal for people’s savings.
“The due diligence process we have undertaken demonstrates a strong business case for merging with achievable efficiencies and savings,” said QSuper Chair Don Luke and Sunsuper Chair Andrew Fraser in a statement.
Two of Australia’s largest pension funds moved a step closer to creating a A$200 billion ($155 billion) giant as the world’s fourth-biggest pension pot consolidates.
QSuper and Sunsuper Pty. have signed a deal to merge, the two funds said in a joint statement Monday. The Brisbane-based funds will combine by September to create the country’s second-largest pension fund.
QSuper has about A$120 billion in funds under administration and looks after the retirement savings for Queensland state government employees. Sunsuper has about A$80 billion in savings for employees of corporations including Unilever Plc and Virgin Australia.