Baltimore-based multiaffiliate funds manager, Legg Mason, has found a buyer for its $1.3 billion Australian corporate super master trust.

ING Australia is understood to have agreed to acquire the Legg Mason Corporate Super Master Trust, in a deal that is to be finalised within the next few weeks. It is understood that the deal is being overseen by Ross Bowden, executive director of Employer Super at ING, and Mark Pankhurst, head of product and marketing. A spokesperson for ING said yesterday that there would be no comment until the transaction had been finalised. Rice Warner was contracted to assist with the sale process. The Legg Mason Corporate Super Master Trust has gained notoriety recently after a -15.9 per cent return earned it the tag “last year’s worst performing balanced fund”, from funds ratings agencies van Eyk and SuperRatings. For ING, the acquisition represents a significant addition to its corporate super funds under management. Launched in the mid ’90s, the Legg Mason Corporate Super Master Trust was the first master trust from a funds manager to include competitor funds managers on its menu. The fund also pioneered the outsourcing model, using panels for the selection of service providers such as insurance companies. Originally launched as the JP Morgan Investment Management Master Trust, the fund was acquired by Citigroup before being sold to Legg Mason in 2005.

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