Equipsuper wants to strengthen its financial planning unit under a newly appointed boss, Justin Sadler, a former AIA Financial Services executive.

Sadler, who started work at the $4.6-billion industry fund on July 9, will oversee the advice delivered by its financial planners and the expansion of the team beyond five people. He led about 80 AIA financial advisors until the company shut the division in February 2011.

Equipsuper is keen to forge closer relationships with members, particularly the 40 per cent that are between 30 and 45 years old. Australian workers in this age group typically become more interested in superannuation as their balances grow and they lay plans for retirement.

“This is when super starts to matter to people,” Danielle Press, chief executive officer of Melbourne-based Equipsuper, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “How do we help manage people as they transition to retirement and how do we manage 40-year-olds who want to set up a self-managed super fund?”

Most of Equipsuper’s financial advisers work in the fund’s head office at 114 William Street in central Melbourne. The fund, which manages the retirement savings of many former electricity workers in Victoria, wants to employ more planners in rural areas. Earlier this year it assigned an adviser to work in Traralgon in Gippsland, close to major power stations such as Loy Yang.

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