Zurich Financial Services Australia has decided to exit the member administration business for big super funds, outsourcing its only industry fund, the Accountants Superannuation Fund, to the administrator and trustee of Recruitment Super.

The accountants’ fund was one of the first to give up the battle to remain independent in the face of mounting regulatory and compliance costs in the 1990s, with the former trustee board selling control of the fund to Zurich in 2001. In the past few years, however, Zurich has divested itself of non-core parts of its business, such as the D-Boss dealer services company which it sold to Paragem last year. All other life offices had also exited this part of member administration and some have also outsourced their corporate super admin operations. The trustee and administrator of the 300,000-member Recruitment Super is Professional Associations Superannuation Ltd (PASL), a not-for-profit group set up in 1995. The accountants’ fund will add 20,000 members to PASL, and about $270 million under management. Zurich will retain its role as the main investment manager for the fund under the arrangement announced yesterday. Ross Fisher, PASL’s chairman, said: “The purchase … is the first significant step towards our long-term goal of providing a range of financial services to a range of professions. With this acquisition we can maintain our member focus and increase the quality and range of services we offer, by leveraging our new structure and subsequent economies of scale.” Barry Tomkinson, Zurich’s head of investment management and life insurance, said: “The sale … enables Zurich Australia to focus on and grow its core lines of business – general insurance, life risk, investments, and platforms – while ensuring the members of the fund receive continuity of service… “Over the last year, Zurich Australia has made a conscious decision to do fewer things but do them better. This has meant reviewing all its offerings to pinpoint those that were no longer aligned to Zurich Australia’s longer-term strategy and market proposition.”

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