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MTAA Super and Tasplan delay merger due to covid-19 concerns

The two profit-for-member funds have delayed their merger date by six months due to concerns about market volatility and to help ease staff working arrangements.

Australian superannuation funds MTAA Super and Tasplan have extended their deadline to complete a merger because of the covid-19 pandemic.

See all Infrastructure Investor’s coverage of coronavirus and its impact here.

The funds had initially set a date of 1 October 2020 to complete their merger, after beginning talks in July 2019 to create a combined entity with more than A$24 billion ($14.7 billion; €13.3 billion) in assets under management.

The date has now been pushed back by more than six months to 31 March 2021 after a joint recommendation from MTAA Super chief executive Leeanne Turner and Tasplan chief executive Wayne Davy to the chairs of both funds’ boards.

In a joint statement, the funds said that “sustained market volatility” and “concerns about supplies of specialist services” were the main factors behind the decision.

MTAA Super’s Turner said that both funds remained “fully committed” to the merger, “just with an extended time”.

“Clearly things have changed rapidly for all Australians in the last few weeks. We recognise the pressure that this is putting on our members and on our staff, both at work and at home,” she said.

“We think extending the merger timeline will ease stress and help our staff better manage workloads and their personal arrangements.”

Tasplan’s Davy added that an extension would allow the individual funds to focus on providing members with support and advice over a period when many were likely to face financial difficulties.

“That’s always been important to us, but now it’s more important than ever,” he said.

MTAA Super is an industry fund that serves the motor trades and allied industries. It had approximately A$12.8 billion in assets under management at 30 June 2019. Tasplan is a multi-industry fund based in Tasmania that had approximately A$11.4 billion in AUM at the same date. Both are profit-for-member superfunds.

According to its most recent annual report, MTAA Super had an infrastructure portfolio valued at A$1.24 billion at 30 June 2019. This includes stakes in Brisbane Airport, Flinders Ports and Southern Water in the UK, as well as a commitment to Macquarie Global Infrastructure Fund II.

Tasplan has several hundred million dollars invested in the asset class through a variety of infrastructure fund commitments, including allocations to AMP Capital’s Diversified Infrastructure Trust, Antin Infrastructure Partners II, IFM InvestorsGlobal Infrastructure Fund and Utilities Trust of Australia, according to its most recent annual report.