“You really should visit our offices in Rhodes”.

In a sector renowned for thinning profit margins and risky, expensive product development, the ebullience of Link Group has stood out. So it is little surprise the chief executives of AustralianSuper, Cbus, HESTA, HOSTPLUS, MTAA Super have taken the taxi ride to Rhodes in Western Sydney and liked what they have seen.

The funds have entered into a heads of agreement with Link “for the provision of a superannuation administration platform and the ancillary sale of Superpartners subject to due diligence”.

If the transaction proceeds Link will also provide ongoing fund administration services for the shareholder funds, with each fund negotiating commercial service agreements.

How much of the success of this deal is down to the engaging personalities of John McMurtrie, its managing director and Suzanne Holden its chief operating officer and how much is due to the belief and financial support of its private equity backers is a moot point. But, its ‘can do’ spirit is certainly why it is due to become the majority super fund administrator in Australia.

Over two visits to its head office in World Square, Sydney, I have heard the following boasts and claims.

  • Since November it has offered clients and their members an online automated e-rollover function that consolidates accounts within three days with no need for paper proof of identity to be sent in the post owing to a link up with ATO.
  • A member direct investment platform
  • A dedication to eradicating monthly paper based payment schedules
  • A pride in having made its first e-contributions on superstream
  • An analytics operation to help funds identify members most likely to leave the fund
  • A passion for gaining scale and lowering costs for its clients
  • And of course, the much repeated exhortation for people to see their newish call centre and data processing offices in Rhodes

This, of course, is not the end of the story. It is widely reported that the owners of Superpartners have lost $300 million from cost overspends on technology and it is now predicted they will have to pay a further $200 million to move their members across to Link. The move will have its risks for all involved and will inevitably have its share of setbacks too. It is no little irony then, that Link itself spent $300 million on IT innovation for its state of the art centre in Rhodes.

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