How a focus on little details is critical to big transformation

At IPAA Queensland’s recent Chief Executives and Emerging Leaders Breakfast, held on 9 May 2024, the Chief Commercial Officer of Australian Retirement Trust (ART), Dave Woodall, discussed the company’s transformation journey following its 2022 merger.  

Just over two years ago, QSuper and Sunsuper merged to form Australian Retirement Trust, bringing together 2 million members and $200 billion in members’ retirement savings. 

But that was merely the beginning of a huge amount of work that, not surprisingly, presented many hurdles. As the largest and most complex merger in Australia’s superannuation history, it involved challenges that required review, reflection and reorientation along the way. 

But as Mr Woodall explained: “We’ve had tremendous growth, which is important, but we’ve had to keep focus on the little things, too. The little things, like answering the phones and maintaining member service levels as we’ve worked through growth and unification on our integration journey 

 “Today ART is one of Australia’s largest super funds with more than 2.3 million Australians trusting us to take care of over $280 billion of their retirement savings,” Mr Woodall said. 

ART continues to have deep roots in Queensland, with about 70% of its membership based in the state, including more than 320,000 members who serve the Queensland community, employed through Queensland Government. 

Over the past year, ART has continued to support Queensland Government employers and employees, in particular, through the superannuation contribution changes. The dedicated ART team has done this by: 

  • Travelling to regions from Cairns to Maryborough, Toowoomba to Emerald, Longreach to Bundaberg and everywhere in between 
  • Delivering over 1,200 education events 
  • Engaging with more than 40,000 Government employees.  

ART’s transformation journey is ongoing as the fund continues to integrate systems, products, processes and teams. 

A significant merger milestone for all ART members will be realised on 1 July 2024, when ART offers members a streamlined suite of choice investment options– all with the goal of helping members retire well with confidence. Continuing the important partnerships with employer clients, including those from our largest customer, the Queensland Government is a key enabler of this.  

The recent arrival of new CEO David Anderson, who possesses a wealth of global experience, has led to an even sharper focus on fostering diversity of talent and ART’s future leaders.  

Diversity of experience, thinking and the challenge mindset that comes with that is very topical for us at ART,” Mr Woodall said. “As we approach reaching $300 billion in managed funds we will slip into the top 20 of global pension funds in the world.  

“Increasingly, as we move through our final steps of the integration of QSuper and Sunsuper, we need to have a global mindset around what good looks like. And what good looks like is no longer defined by the Australian peer groups we compete with, it’s defined by the global peer groups. 

“So, we need to think about innovation, capability of our people, future roles and diversity of experience and thinking,” Mr Woodall said.  

about ipaa queensland

IPAA Queensland is the professional association for public servants across Queensland and anyone interested or engaged in public purpose work. They advance the professionalism, capability and integrity of public administration and public purpose work and promotes pride in service.

They do this through a strategic program of thought leadership events that enable our members to build their connections, challenge their thinking and stay informed about topics and issues relevant to public purpose.

ART is proud to support the 2024 Chief Executives and Emerging Leaders Breakfast and is proud partners of IPAA Queensland.

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