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RBF-TAS/Tasplan merger passes Parliament

Dan Purves




The successor fund transfer of the Retirement Benefits Fund’s (RBF) Tasmanian Accumulation Scheme to Tasplan has cleared a major hurdle, as enabling legislation has been passed in both houses of the Tasmanian Parliament.

Because RBF is state-owned, the Public Sector Superannuation Reform Bill 2016 was needed to formalise new fiduciary and administration arrangements for the provision of superannuation to public sector employees in Tasmania.

Under the legislation, the accumulation side of RBF can be transferred to Tasplan under successor fund transfer (SFT) arrangements.

However, the RBF’s defined benefit schemes will sit under a newly created Superannuation Commission, which consists of up to three people appointed by the Treasurer. The Commission will be responsible for the administration and investment management of the schemes and can put both those functions out to open tender. Tasplan, as well as others, will be able to apply for this tender.

“There was another complexity, which is [that] the state government [of Tasmania] needs to give Tasplan default fund status for the public sector workers, and that’s obviously a fairly important provision from Tasplan’s perspective,” said Philip Mussared, chief executive of RBF.

Since neither super fund could draft the legislation, they were dependent on the State Treasury to progress it through Parliament, with it passing the lower house on April 5 and the upper house on May 31 without controversy.

The next stage in the reform process is the formal approval of the Act by Royal assent, which is expected to happen before the end June.

“RBF and Tasplan have been working collaboratively on the assumption that this would progress, [and] therefore in terms of drafting the SFT documentation, I would describe it is 99.5 per cent complete,” said Mussared.

“Subject to the legislation being proclaimed by the State Treasurer, the two boards should be in a position to sign the SFT documentation.”

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    Once everything is finalised in July, the SFT will become unconditional and two events will happen.

    Firstly, the chief executive of the entity going forward will be announced (the selection process is currently underway) and, secondly, the board of Tasplan will be restructured.

    A number of RBF board members will resign from the RBF board and be appointed to Tasplan’s board, which will be then be the board to take the new entity forward.

    The estimated completed transition date for the SFT is the end of March 2017.