The $2.6 billion Maritime Super will conduct a full review of its investment portfolios over the next 12 to 18 months on the back of the long-awaited merger of the two maritime industry super funds on March 1. The merger between the $1.5 billion Stevedoring Employees Retirement Fund (SERF) and the $1.1 billion Seafarers Retirement Fund (SRF), which was originally scheduled for January 1, was delayed for several months while the funds sought rollover relief from tax laws which stipulated that superannuation funds must crystallise their capital gains and losses when they merge. Peter Robertson, chief executive of the merged entity, said had the funds merged on January 1 without the rollover relief, Maritime Super would have had to crystallise “significant losses” from the funds’ portfolios, which would have hit members’ bottom line directly. “By waiting until we had rollover relief we were able to carry those losses forward and use them to offset future gains so it doesn’t hit the bottom line immediately,” he said. Such a benefit was denied Media Super, which did not receive rollover relief when Print Super and JUST Super merged last year. Under the new Maritime Super management structure, SRF’s chief executive, Glenn Davis, and operations manager, Grant Harslett, have been appointed executive officer and general manager of investments and finance, respectively. Maritime Super has retained JANA, which has provided consulting services to both SERF and SRF since July last year, as its asset consultant, and appointed National Custodial Services, the incumbent custodian of SRF, for its custody arrangements after a tender was conducted late last year. “For the last two years we’ve been working to align the portfolios and despite the fact that we didn’t merge on January 1, what we did do was ensure both funds had the same five investment options,” Robertson said. “Having said that, market conditions haven’t been conducive to reviewing portfolios but we are working with JANA over the next 12 to 18 months to conduct a full review of all of our portfolios.” Robertson said the key focus for the fund in 2009 would be ensuring it gains “maximum advantage” from the merger, which was first touted in 1993 when the Seamen’s Union of

Australia and the Waterside Workers Federation were amalgamated to form the Maritime Union of

Australia, which became common employee sponsor of both funds. Warrant Chant, principal of Chant West, said the merger was a positive move for the two funds: “We have information on these two funds but we haven’t rated them, but possibly now we would look to rate them because they have a reasonable size.”

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