Australian Retirement Trust continues growth trajectory

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alcoa of Australia Retirement Plan (Alcoa Super) on 14 March 2023, ART’s third merger announcement since the start of the year.

The two funds will now commence a comprehensive due diligence process, and any potential merger will only progress if both funds determine that doing so would be in each of their members’ best interest. Alcoa Super has more than 5,000 members and $2 billion in funds under management (FUM).

Australian Retirement Trust’s Chief Executive Officer Bernard Reilly said ART was well on its way to achieving its target of $500 billion in FUM by 2030 and continuing to grow its national footprint for the benefit of it’s 2.2 million members.

“Our merger last year to become Australian Retirement Trust was really just the starting point and laid the foundation for our future growth strategy,” said Mr Reilly.

Midwinter partners with CQUniversity to roll out advice technology to students

Midwinter Financial Services Pty Ltd (Midwinter) has announced a partnership with CQUniversity Australia to provide financial planning software to its students undertaking financial planning units.

As part of the agreement, CQUniversity’s financial planning students will be able to access Midwinter’s financial advice software, as well as training to support the students using the technology.

The digital advice software will be available to students studying a Bachelor of Business, a Bachelor of Accounting, and a Bachelor of Property Studies, as well as other non-business courses with financial planning units.

Stacey Cowan, Head of Sales at Midwinter says, “With adviser numbers continuing to fall across the industry, Midwinter is excited to support the development of future qualified financial advisers by providing access to advice technology during their education.”

Midwinter’s financial advice modules will be available to all CQUniversity students undertaking financial planning units from Term 1 2023 onwards.

Developing building cladding from recycled glass

At the ASFA Conference in February, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Sustainable Materials Research & Technology Centre at University of New South Wales spoke of  the importance of organisations adopting a circular economy mindset and shared some of their pioneering thermal transformations of waste resources into a new generation of green materials.

Now engineers at RMIT University have developed new fire-safe building claddings using 83% recycled glass, creating a promising circular-economy solution to address a major waste stream.

The RMIT team worked with materials technology company Livefield to produce the composite cladding, which they say is cheap, structurally robust and fire-resistant.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Dilan Robert said using recovered glass waste as an alternative cladding material could one day help reduce the amount of glass that goes to landfill.

The technology has met the key compliance requirement of claddings for non-combustibility (AS1530.1) set by Standards Australia.

Cracking the gender pay gap code

When it comes to super balances, Renae Anderson, Manager, Select Advice at UniSuper sees financial confidence as key to addressing the financial gap between men and women and offers the following tips:

  1. Get advice! Advisors are trained to help you understand your finances, and they’ll walk you through the process every step of the way. Don’t worry – you don’t need any prior knowledge to do this.
  2. Be involved with your finances and make your money work for you. By knowing your financial goals for retirement, and being aware of your current balance and fees, you can be proactive in making contributions or switching investment streams.
  3. Have a conversation with your spouse around spousal contributions are relevant to their situation. Generally, for women earning less than $37K per year, their spouse can generally contribute $3K each year to their super and receive a $540 rebate on tax.
  4. Manage your balance with ‘catch-up contributions’ after time out from the workforce. This allows workers with a total super balance below $500K, who haven’t used up their concessional contribution cap of up to $27.5K in previous years, to take advantage of it. This could have a significant impact on a woman’s super balance and anyone with a tax rate higher than 15 per cent could save a considerable amount of tax.
  5. Check your fees. Being in a low fee fund saves everyone thousands of dollars by the time they retire.
  6. Contribute your pay rise – it’s a little bit of extra cash you’re already used to not having in your bank, so take advantage of tax concessions on super contributions.
  7. Go beyond the standard contribution of 10.5%. You can significantly improve your retirement outcomes simply by keeping aside a little extra each month to add to your super balance.