AAS has migrated 15 clients to its new
aaspire member administration platform, including the $14 billion REST in one
of the largest data migrations in Australian superannuation history, but
arrears reporting has proved a stumbling block, causing problems for many
funds. The NSW Electrical Superannuation Scheme (NESS)
was the first AAS client to transfer to the member administrator’s new system,
an overhauled version of Atune.

Phillip Hirshbein, fund secretary at NESS, said the annual review on 30 June was a good test
of the new system. “We did have some hiccups with the annual review but despite
our assumptions that aaspire had something to do with it, I was assured that it
didn’t and the record keeping process and accounting was spot on,” he said. “Subsequently
the issues we have had are to do with arrears reporting – we provide a
contribution arrears service to our members and the functionality for that wasn’t
allowed for on aaspire and we’re still having trouble with it.”

One fund chief
executive, who asked not to be named, described the new system as “a dog” and
said it was not user friendly. “A few other funds have had problems,” he said. “Some
of them use the external Industry Funds Credit Control as a service provider.
If [IFFC] are getting crap data [from funds using aaspire] they’re chasing up
employers that are not in arrears but are reported to be in arrears.” Julie
Lander, chief executive officer of the $3.3 billion CareSuper in Victoria, which migrated
to aaspire in March, said it was important to put things in perspective.

“It’s
a huge task and 95 per cent of it went well but there were always going to be
some issues that were going to be outstanding and arrears has been one of them
where it hasn’t been working as it did previously, so funds have had to work
through that,” she said. “We’ve each had some quirks of things that have gone
differently and as each fund migrated [AAS] learnt more and they tried to
perfect their process along the way. We and another fund were the only ones
that had an ASX option… there were some issues about interest coming across at
the time of the migration.”

Chris McAlees, chief operating officer of AAS, said
the administrator was working to remediate the arrears problem. “If any client
has a specific issue we’ll look to remediate that as quickly as possible,” he
said. “Whenever you do a large migration there are specific issues that need to
be resolved on specific circumstances. The vast majority of clients of all of
our clients are very happy with the transition and how it’s been executed.” REST’s
1.7 million active members converted to the new platform at the end of May, and
McAlees described the transfer as “a huge achievement in superannuation”. “We
migrated 1.7 million active members, and there are about 4.5 million active and
inactive members,” he said. “It’s probably the largest migration in Australian
superannuation history.”

Despite repeated requests for comment, REST refused to
comment on its experience, or the nature of its administration model. Investment
and Technology understands the fund had talked to the
market recently about the possibility of insourcing its administration. Club
Plus chief executive officer Paul Cahill, whose $1.3 billion fund has moved on
to the new platform, also declined to comment on the fund’s experience. Asset
Super, Mechanical Electrical Redundancy Trust, Australian Construction Industry
Redundancy Trust (ACIRT) and AMP’s Super- Leader are among those yet to migrate.
Asset Super is due to transfer its 100,000 superannuation members from AAS
Ultimaas One to aaspire in September.

It has used Atune for its pension product
since signing with AAS in April 2006. John Paul, chief executive officer of the
$1.4 billion Asset Super, said initially there were scalability issues which
prevented the fund from using the Atune platform for its super. “[AAS] have
addressed those scalability issues over the last couple of years and solved them
so they are now migrating all their clients across to the aaspire platform,” he
said. “We were mooted to go across in early June, but there were some issues
with data transfer which we wanted to resolve before we made the move, so we
delayed it until the second week of September.”

An AMP spokesperson said
SuperLeader, which also uses Ultimaas One, would transfer over this year. McAlees
said 85 per cent of its membership base had migrated to aaspire in line with the
administrator’s stated aim last April of converting all of its clients within
18 months. “It’s a fairly difficult thing to do, doing a huge technology project,
and we’ve migrated our largest clients,” he said. The most important thing from
our perspective is we have maintained our service, our contact centre, member
service, employer service. A lot of organisations concentrate too much on the
IT rather than the service they’re providing.”

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