AustralianSuper, Cbus, Hesta, MTAA and Hostplus are conducting a review of their reliance on Superpartners as the sole source of IT for investment administration.
The move comes after several years of concern at Superpartners’ overspend on IT projects that have under delivered or not appeared on time.
A statement issued by a Cbus spokesperson said: “The Shareholder Funds have determined to assess all options and solutions available to us in providing the IT platform and capabilities we require.
“We have commenced a detailed assessment of the available options in the marketplace in the interest of good process and good governance.”
The statement goes on to explain that the funds’ IT requirements have changed due to growing funds under management and numerous regulatory changes. Additionally, the shareholder funds are increasingly looking at idiosyncratic offerings to members.
The statement continues: “The Shareholder Funds are considering a range of options that are now available and they require detailed assessment. We are not in a position to confirm or deny which parties have expressed an interest in offering us the solutions we are seeking as this is a commercially confidential process.”
The latter comment refers to several market rumours. One says that Commonwealth Bank is in the frame to purchase Superpartners. Another says the shareholder funds will retain some Superpartners services, such as the member services call centres, while the IT services will either be sold off or bypassed by member funds.
The statement concludes: “We have requested Superpartners dedicate the time, rigour and resources to supporting this assessment.”
The development follows several attempts at improving Superpartners fortunes. In July 2013, it appointed Strategy& (formerly named Booz & Company) as its external transformation partner.
In September 2013, it appointed Steve Parrish to the new role director of enterprise transformation, which covered the nextGEN technology programme set to deliver 11 new IT systems, six of which were only complete at the date of the last annual report from Superpartners. The systems are designed to provide integrated systems, straight-through processing and analytics.