Mercer is in the process of hiring 120 new positions across its outsourcing business to cater for a flurry of new super fund clients in recent months, including the $2 billion ANZ Australian Staff Superannuation Scheme which yesterday announced it had switched from Russell Employee Benefits to Mercer for administration and member services.

ANZ will transfer the administration of its staff superannuation scheme, including administration of the insured benefits for death, total permanent disability and salary continuance to Mercer from early 2010.

Russell has been administering the scheme for seven years.

Mercer will also provide helpline services, claims handling and online services for members as part of the contract. The scheme has 30,000 members and will become one of Mercer’s largest outsourcing clients in Australia.

David Anderson, outsourcing business leader for Asia Pacific at Mercer said Mercer was in a strong hiring phase given the series of recent large outsourcing deals, which have included Tasmania’s $3.4 billion Retirement Benefits Fund and the $2.6 billion NGS Super.

This was despite a restructure within the outsourcing business which saw the role of financial advice leader, held by Scott Walters, recently made redundant and the financial advice team combined with the member services team under one yet-to-be-appointed executive.

“We’re hiring 120 new positions at the moment,” Anderson said.

“The growth is causing us to hire ambitiously in operations, our call centre, in our relationship management team, in our sales team, in our member services teams. There’s a strong hiring phase we’re going through, it’s just there’s a reorganisation at the same time.”

Anderson said employers and fund trustees were seeking an outsourcing solution that not only reduces their administrative and regulatory burden but also improves the service experience and retirement outcomes for members.

As a standalone corporate fund, the management of ANZ Australian Staff Super, which is predominantly a defined contribution scheme, remains inhouse.

Russell Employee Benefits will continue to provide actuarial consulting services to the scheme, which also has a range of investments in Russell funds.

A spokesperson for Russell said ANZ remained a “valued client” of the firm.

“Administration is a very critical business for us and we’re still very committed to it, our relationship with IBM is still strong and Russell will continue to compete in this space,” he said.


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