Link Group has signed a strategic alliance with Challenger to make annuity products more easily accessible to members, in one of Link’s first moves to use its new found scale to benefit clients.

Link Group’s Australian Administration Services (AAS) has pledged to make guaranteed retirement income products available on its contemporary aaspire administrative platform by next year.

The move follows nine months after Link Group acquired the administration operations of Superpartners, thereby gaining the responsibility of the members for AustralianSuper, Cbus, HESTA and HOSTPLUS.

It is aimed at helping such funds meet the Financial System Inquiry (FSI)  recommendation for a Comprehensive Income Product in Retirement (CIPR) that combines a flexible and easily tailored mix of growth investments and longevity protection solutions such as annuities.

And it follows a week after VicSuper announced that it has gone live with a CIPR that combines its own pension product with a highly flexible range of annuities from Challenger.

Paul Rogan, chief executive of distribution, product and marketing at Challenger, said he expected his firm’s annuities to be accessible through the AAS platform by mid-2016.

He reported a strong pipeline of client prospects due to the impact of the FSI recommendations.

Likewise, Suzanne Holden, chief executive officer at AAS, said she had also seen interest from clients in having annuities available on the aaspire platform.

“We believe this alliance will continue to help us provide innovative and effective retirement plans for our funds and their members,” she said.

AAS provides fund administration, customer contact centre and financial advice to 10 million superannuation fund members. Its largest clients are AustralianSuper, Cbus, REST, HESTA, CareSuper, Hostplus and MTAA Super.

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