Matt Rady

With BT Super to be acquired by Mercer, Westpac will next sell Panorama by the end of September with several buyers interested.

The BT Super board and Mercer announced on 26 May they had signed a heads of agreement to merge BT’s personal and corporate superannuation funds into the Mercer Super Trust to create a $65 billion fund.

With the platforms business the key remaining entity at BT, chief executive Matt Rady tells Professional Planner the sale of Panorama won’t be the end of the wealth manager as both parties are intrinsically linked.

“BT is Panorama. The business we’re in now is platforms.”

Rady says BT has been an aggregation of different businesses covering insurance, wealth, margin lending, online broking and retail super in the past, but now the strategy is to simplify the business to only focus on platforms.

“Over the course of the last three or four years [we’ve tried to] identify the right homes for businesses we don’t think are part of BT’s future but are good businesses in themselves.”

A new purpose has been created for BT, Rady says, and that is to enable quality financial advice to thrive.

“That proposition is about enabling financial advisers to provide more efficient, competitive and compelling financial advice. Our business puts financial advice at the centre of everything we do.”

Rady told Professional Planner in January “there are opportunities” with investments and platforms and that it saw itself as an enabler, not a provider of advice.

Super powered

Mercer is the right partner for BT’s retail super business according to Rady, who says Mercer have super at the core of everything they do.

“The retail super business is a great business [with] $40 billion plus in assets and Mercer has a great home for that.”

The combined funds under management puts it above the recommended $50 billion threshold APRA recommended at the Investment Magazine Chair Forum in March. At the event, it announced it had conducted research which found this was the minimum needed for funds to achieve scale by spreading their costs over a wider membership base to keep fees low.

This meant small and medium-sized super funds have been in a midst of an existential crisis as the regulator deems them to be unsustainable, but industry figures have defended its place in the superannuation sphere.