Julie Lander, chief executive of the $4.6 billion superannuation fund CareSuper, says she is hopeful a merger with AssetSuper will be approved by the two funds’ boards by year-end, and completed in 2012.

“We hope to make a decision to merge by the end of the year,” says Lander. “It will take a few months to implement, by the middle of next year hopefully.”

John Paul, CEO of CareSuper, says an agreement to enter into merger discussions has been signed.

“I’m as confident as I can be,” says Paul. “We’re both committed to working toward that goal.”

Lander says the two boards are examining ways the merged fund can contain costs and remain sustainable.

Paul doesn’t expect any cuts in staff numbers following the merger. AssetSuper’s board met yesterday to discuss the merger.

Lander is likely to become CEO of the new fund.

“I’m 63 next year and it’s quite likely I might not be doing anything,” says Paul.

CareSuper was established in 1986 and manages money for 200,000 people in professional, managerial, administration and service occupations. AssetSuper, founded in 1987, has 85,000 members across mainly small and medium-sized companies and manages $1.6 billion in funds.

CareSuper has generated 6.6 per cent average annual net returns over the last 10 years for members in its balanced investment option.

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