(pictured: Bruce Watson)
The $9.5 billion industry super fund Mine Wealth + Wellbeing will soon change its administration systems provider, choosing a relatively small fintech company with its early experience in the SMSF market – Recreo Financial.
The move, which includes the fund buying a minority stake in Recreo to cement the partnership, is a sign of the times whereby super fund members are offered far greater flexibility and choice in their investment range. The move has also given the fund increased efficiency through greater automation of various administration processes.
The managing director and co-founder of Recreo, Matthew Crooks, said the fund, formerly known as AUSCOAL Super, was looking for a system which would last at least a decade and a provider which would help the system evolve with the changing world of super.
“We come from a background of offering multiple products and we pride ourselves on offering innovative solutions, from the flexibility to offer maximum choice for SMSFs to the sophistication for a big fund like ‘Mine’ to have greater efficiencies and further reduce operating expenses,” Crooks said.
Most big super funds outsource their member administration to one of a handful of specialist administration companies, but Mine Wealth + Wellbeing has always self-administered, for the greater agility this offers, according to the fund’s chief executive, Bruce Watson.
Watson said: “By self administering we are able to hear in real time what’s going on with the members and meet their expectations. We want them to have the best experiences possible. It’s more than just offering them a service. It’s very hard to outsource an experience.
“Our benchmarking shows that we can also do this very efficiently. Efficiency is a key. We look at all the competitive offerings available and we believe we are providing high quality admin and customer experience for a most competitive price.”
With Recreo, the fund is able include all of a member’s investment assets under the umbrella of the accounting system – not just the assets inside the super fund. This includes transactional banking and credit union accounts, pension and long-service leave accounting and tax, and non super investments.
Watson said: “The extra automation is a massive benefit to our business.”
While Recreo is a relative newcomer to the industry – started in 2009 – Watson points out that Mine Wealth + Wellbeing had always tried to be innovative and not afraid to take on new technology. For instance, with the current system used by the fund (DST’s Bluedoor) it was only the second industry fund to onboard that particular solution. The fund’s purchase of an 18 per cent interest in Recreo and having a representative on its board give it a better alignment of interests and greater ability to adapt to changes in the industry going forward.
Recreo was founded by Matthew Crooks and fellow director David Johnston, who were both instrumental in the building of Oasis Asset Management from 2000 to its sale to ING Australia in 2005. They were joined by the third executive director last year, Jason Clarke, who has also had a long involvement in the industry as a former chief executive of SuperRatings and, more recently, Lonsec Fiscal Holdings. Recreo partners with Lonsec for the provision of a member –directed investment option solution for super funds.
Clarke said: “At Recreo we have had the advantage of building a next-generation system, using cloud-based scalable technology, without any legacy overhang. Our adoption by SMSF trustees and their advisers in the early days also meant that we have had to provide the ultimate in flexibility and all the choice required by that market.
“It may sound like a cliché, but with Mine we have a true partnership. They have a dedicated team to work with us, their equity position and their representative, Nicole Killen (the fund’s chief governance and risk officer), on our board. It is the best possible relationship. We don’t want to be seen as just a software vendor.”
Global markets drop, ASX200 down most in five months, Orica (ASX:ORI) and Afterpay (ASX:APT) smashed