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Cbus CEO hits the road as merger mania slows

As the pace of superannuation consolidation slows, Cbus CEO Justin Arter will step down and the fund he’s run since 2020 will embark on a new growth plan.

Arter was appointed to the role in July 2020 after roles at VMFC, where he was chief executive from 2009-2012, and BlackRock, where he was head of Australia and later head of client business for the UK, Middle-East and Africa. During his tenure at Cbus he “significantly expanded” the fund’s membership, FUM and industry footprint through its merger with the $5 billion Media Super. He’ll step down in May, after the completion of the merger with EISS Super.

“I’m enormously proud of the strides the fund has taken during my tenure and in recent years Cbus has grown strongly,” Arter said. “The successful mergers we have overseen have strengthened the fund’s capacity to invest on behalf of our members and to deliver other important scale benefits for members.”

Chief investment officer Kristian Fok has been appointed interim CEO while Cbus figures out its approach to finding a new CEO. And with industry consolidation slowing, the fund has “now shifted the fund’s attention to organic growth and member retention”.

Media Merger
The Media Super brand was retained following the merger, which brought Cbus’ FUM to $70 billion, well above APRA’s $30 billion magic number for fund sustainability. Media had weighed up a merger with AustralianSuper during a search led by Rice Warner (now part of Deloitte), but opted to go with Cbus because it promised to create a Media Super advisory board, which would advocate on behalf of that fund’s members while having no executive power.

The merger, while delayed (rumoured to be due to bottlenecks at APRA), went through in April 2022. Cbus commenced merger discussions with energy industry super fund EISS, which manages around $5.5 billion on behalf of 19,000 members,  in December 2021.

  • “Cbus, under Justin’s leadership, has adroitly navigated two significant mergers,” said Cbus chairman Wayne Swan. “Thanks to these successes, we are well placed to continue our journey of growth, with a renewed focus on retaining members and attracting new ones.”

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