The Australian arm of Unilever will outsource the management of its $250 million staff superannuation scheme to a major industry fund in April.

The Unilever fund will be rolled into the $14 billion Sunsuper to provide members with the investment benefits enabled by larger scale, and additional services such as financial planning, confirmed Andrew Bell, superannuation director at Unilever.

“They have the scale that can provide a much more competitive result for investments. Because of our relatively lower level of diversification, our ups and downs [in performance] have been sharper,” Bell said.

He said the transition was first planned about 18 months ago, but was not made because legislation providing tax relief during superannuation fund mergers has not passed Federal Parliament. However, he said  tax liabilities were no longer problematic because “tax losses have been nicely used up over the last 12 months by the markets”.

In the transition, Sunsuper will absorb the $40 million defined benefit scheme, which dates back to the 1930s, and the larger accumulation plan. At its peak, the defined benefit component served about 500 members, but it now caters to 30.

Bell said members’ accounts would not be greatly affected as a result of the transition, because the four investment options offered by Unilever found their equivalent among the 25 provided by Sunsuper.

“This adds complexity for the member, but our investment choices are able to be easily merged into Sunsuper’s offering.”

He said the insurance provided for members would not change.

“Unilever will pay the insurance premiums, and the same policy will be managed by Sunsuper.”

The six-person trustee board of the Unilever fund would become a policy committee, which would include Bell and meet with Sunsuper on a quarterly basis to review the service being provided by the bigger fund.

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