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UniSuper chief executive Terry McCredden has called on the expertise of an old colleague from his Telstra Super days as part of a $6 million project which involves remediation of the Acurity administration platform adopted by the fund in 2006. Helen Radatti, former chief information officer at Telstra Super, who worked with McCredden when he was the corporate fund’s chief executive officer, has joined UniSuper’s business systems committee as an independent member. The project is being managed by the self-administered fund’s technology division but supervised by the business systems committee, which oversees all of UniSuper’s business systems projects.

Paul Murphy, executive manager marketing and business development at UniSuper, said the scope of the project included assessing the degree of customisation required for the Acurity administration platform, which the fund has used for its accumulationphase products since 2006. During the conversion to the platform, which is owned by Financial Synergy, UniSuper experienced problems and at one point 1660 members were unable to access any information about their accounts. “We have idiosyncratic products, unusual products, and when you buy an off-the-shelf system you have to make a call about how much you customise it, or how much you adapt the product to conform to the system,” Murphy said.

“Elements of [the project] would be about remediation. One of the things about systems is to what extent are things automated and to what extent do you have to do manual work-arounds. Ideally what you want to have is a system that automates as much as possible, that reduces delays you might have in things like distributing statements to members every six months, because we run six-monthly statements. “Getting the system to produce more things automatically would be a part of the brief for this, and to reduce the manual work-arounds where they’ve been needed.” Murphy said Radatti, who was appointed to the business systems committee in March, is familiar with the Acurity system, having used the admin platform during her time at Telstra Super.

Despite the $6 million budgeted for the project for the 2009-10 financial year, he said it was not “an enormous project” for an organisation of UniSuper’s scale, and represented less than 10 per cent of the fund’s operating budget for the year. “There is some extra complexity in our product range because we run a defined benefit fund and we’ve also got pensions, so there are various technology platforms that we need to run to manage all those things, and they’re all in-house,” he said. “We’re in a dynamic industry with a lot of regulatory change – every time there’s a Budget there’s a new set of requirements.