Former Australian Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said the Cbus Pension Fund was seeking acquisitions to expand its assets under management to A $ 150 billion (US $ 108 billion).
Swan took over as chairman of the construction industry’s A $ 67 billion pension fund this month. It already plans to absorb Media Super, which will add A $ 5.9 billion, and EISS Super, an A $ 6.4 billion energy industry fund, this year.
Australia’s A $ 3.3tn payout sector is consolidating rapidly after the Australian Customs Regulatory Authority put pressure on smaller or poorly performing funds to merge with larger competitors. This led to 15 mergers in the year to October and raised expectations that the market would amount to a handful of “mega funds”.
Swan, who as treasurer led the country’s economy through the 2008 financial crisis, said the construction workers’ fund is in talks to make more transactions. “Many funds are looking for a partner. We talk to them just like others, ”he said.
He added that Cbus, which was one of the country’s first operating funds, should not lose its “blue and pink collar” identity as it expands. “We do not just want to grow for the sake of growth. We do not see ourselves as a general fund, ”he said.
Swan argued that the fund’s core strength should be organic growth, as opposed to expanding its scale through mergers. The Cbus growth fund delivered returns of almost 20 percent in the year to June 2021.
The appointment of Swan, unveiled in July, has been controversial among some of the unions whose workers represent the fund. The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union NSW has a choice of “insult” to his workers, as laws enacted while Swan was in government cost the unions millions of dollars while protecting the rights of their members.
His dual roles as chairman of Cbus and president of the Australian Labor Party have also been criticized.
Swan said his job as chairman of the Cbus board would involve bringing people together, but rejected the proposal that his role at the ALP should exclude him from the post.
“There is too much biased debate, especially about super. “I would like to see more consensus on things,” he said.
Part of the Cbus strategy will be to capture the value of the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable energy. He argued that industry funds, unions and the government should work together to stimulate investment in the post-coronavirus pandemic economy.
“A healthy super-sector plays a role in the recapitalization of the economy as during the JRC [global financial crisis]”We need to talk about strengthening and refreshing the Australian economy for the next 20 years,” he said.