The $1 billion Prime Super fund has joined the select client list of asset consultant Access Economics, replacing Watson Wyatt in a market tender process.

Prime Super, most of whose 170,000 members work on the land, was rebranded from Australian Primary Super in August. The chief executive of Prime Super, former Host Plus operations manager Lachlan Baird, said the default fund’s investment performance had suffered in the past, thanks in part to a conservative 65:35 aggressive:defensive benchmark, and an absence of alternative strategies, such as the direct private equity deals for which Access Economics is known. He said Access Economics was currently preparing a strategy report for the fund, which would be presented at Prime Super’s February board meeting. According to SuperRatings, the Prime Super default fund’s five year rolling return was 6.3 per cent to June 30, 2006, against the agency’s balanced median of 7.3 per cent (all net of tax and fees). Baird said the appointment of Access Economics, which typically puts 40 per cent of its clients’ assets into ‘target return’ portfolios filled with direct property and infrastructure deals, was a deliberate ploy to “pick up” returns. “Out board has watched [Access Economics’] approach to risk for some time, and it seems to work,” he said. The shift to Access Economics, which followed an internally-run tender involving six consultancies, is part of an overhaul which recently saw the fund offer members discounted banking products through Bananacoast Community Credit Union. Discounted financial advice will become available shortly, through a soon-to-be-disclosed dealer group with a regional branch network.

Join the discussion