Why we’re bringing Verve under the Future Group umbrella

by Christina Hobbs

The decision to bring Verve, Australia’s first superannuation offering founded by women for women+, under the umbrella of a larger superannuation group wasn’t easy. But ultimately as the CEO and a Co-Founder, I knew it was in the best interests of our members and our mission. 

To mark the beginning of 2023, myself and Verve Co-Founder Alex, sat down for a strategic planning session. Our conclusion at the end of that session was the same as it had been the year before: that to achieve our mission as best we can, we needed Verve to grow larger, and faster

Verve’s overall mission to support women+ to build retirement wealth and invest in a better world has barely changed since day one. Our three pillars of impact, and our reason for being remain the same:

  • (i) to provide exceptional service tailored to women+ in an industry that has historically underserved women+;
  • (ii) to lead the industry in applying a gender lens to how we invest superannuation; and
  • (iii) to use the power of our membership to advocate for gender equality within Australia’s retirement system.

Verve’s journey to date

In the five years that Verve has existed so far, we’ve certainly punched above our weight. We’ve introduced a robust gender lens approach for investing to the Australian superannuation industry, have become a regular fixture in the media and in the halls of parliament advocating for fairer retirement outcomes for Australian women, and have heard from countless members that they are now more engaged in their super and their finances having joined Verve and experienced our award-winning service. 

We now know that the larger we are, the more members we can benefit; the better service and fees we can offer our members; the more clout we have when advocating for retirement equality; and the more superannuation funds that can be invested ethically with a stronger gender lens.

Being independent and majority owned by women was initially very important to us. To get Verve off the ground I re-mortgaged my home, and then gathered a bunch of Australian business women, philanthropists and investors to invest in the concept. 

But the superannuation industry and operating environment has changed significantly over the past five years with a growing focus on consolidation. Our board increasingly felt that being independent was no longer serving us. As Founders, Alex (Verve’s COO) and myself were increasingly spending our time focusing on compliance and regulatory change, giving us less time to serve our members and undertake the important advocacy work that we do. 

It was clear that something had to change. 

Why we chose Future Group

Future Group has been Verve’s investment manager since day one, and was instrumental in helping us get off the ground. We’d been having conversations with Future Group for over a year to determine if there were areas where we could work together to consolidate our efforts and achieve efficiencies for our members. We’d also been in discussion with them about how we could work together to better support women’s retirement outcomes – as it’s an issue that they also care passionately about. As these discussions progressed the answer seemed obvious: we should combine forces. 

Under the merger arrangement, Verve will continue to be a company that is predominantly led by women and our mission and vision will not change. The Verve that our members know and love will continue (and yes, your member numbers and all other information will remain the same). However, sitting under a larger umbrella superannuation group, Verve management will now be able to focus on serving our members, advocating for retirement outcomes and gender lens investing, while others in the organisaton focus on compliance, regulation and other administrative functions. We will also be able to pass on any fee reductions resulting from economies of scale; the decision to reduce fees in early November was undertaken knowing this merger would occur. 

Verve leadership will also be able to leverage the larger Future Group membership of 380,000 when advocating for fairer retirement outcomes and we hope to influence the $13.4b+ in superannuation funds that Future Group manages to have a stronger gender lens. 

Future Group is significantly values-aligned to Verve, and we wouldn’t have made this decision otherwise. They aim to reduce inequality – both via policies and targets within their organisation around gender diversity, cultural diversity, and pay gaps, or by trying to effect systemic change by sharing their work and sparking conversations and change. 

They were one of the first (and most vocal) companies to implement menstrual and menopausal leave, and have open-sourced their policies so that other companies can follow their example. Their investments team is led by a female Executive Director of Investments, their Chief Impact Officer is a woman and they also have a gender-equal board and senior leadership team. And, in coordination with Verve Super, Future Super was also the first Australian super fund not to invest in companies without a woman on their board.

We’re truly excited about the path ahead, and our plans for 2024 and beyond. We’ve all seen the impacts of a financial services company dedicated to women+, and that’s something we’re looking forward to building on under a new structure that will better support our mission and our members to thrive. 

Content published by Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd (ABN 65 628 675 169, AFS Representative No. 001268903), a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956, AFSL 238184). 

All financial information provided is general and doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific information tailored to your own unique situation. 

Interests in Verve Super are issued by Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited (ABN 50 055 641 757, AFSL 229757, RSE Licence L0001458) as trustee of the Future Super Fund (‘the Fund’ ABN 45 960 194 277, RSE Registration No R1072914). Verve Super is a division of the Fund. Check out the PDS, TMD and FSG available at www.vervesuper.com.au before making a decision to acquire, hold, or continue to hold, an interest in Verve Super.

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