Cushon has completed the consolidation of the Workers Pension Trust (WPT) into its master trust. This is the first time, since the master trust authorisation regime was introduced, that an intra-group merger of an acquired master trust into another has been completed, it was announced.
Cushon, which has £2.3bn in assets under management, acquired WPT in June 2021. WPT at the time was a leading auto-enrolment trust in Northern Ireland with 138,000 members with pension investments of more than £330m.
Since its acquisition in 2021, WPT master trust has operated separately, with independent trustee boards. Following the merger, WPT assets and members are now part of the larger Cushon master trust under the governance of its own board of trustees.
In the next 12 months, members previously with WPT will be migrated on to the Cushon tech platform, giving them access to the Cushon mobile app, Cushon said. It added that a review by the Cushon master trust trustees of these members’ default and self-select funds is also underway.
Cushon added that the merger of WPT into the Cushon master trust is an important step in achieving industry consolidation and scale as it continues to identify future acquisition opportunities in the next 12-24 months.
Ben Pollard, Cushon’s founder and chief executive officer, said that Cushon is “walking the walk” when it comes to consolidation.
He said: “In just over three years we have acquired three master trusts. Acquiring master trusts is only the first step in the consolidation journey. The real win is merging them to create greater scale, which is a good thing for pension savers. This merger is the first of its kind and with it, Cushon is creating the blueprint for further industry consolidation.”
In 2021, Cushon acquired the Salvus master trust, which became the Cushon master trust, and Creative Pension Trust in January 2022.
Roger Mattingly, chair of the Cushon master trust, said the merger of WPT into Cushon master trust is a “first step on the consolidation journey”.
He said: “By consolidating two large workplace pension arrangements, the resources and financial support available to the Cushon master trust grows. This gives the board of trustees new opportunities to add value, with the aim of driving better outcomes.”
Mattingly acknowledged that members will not see immediate changes. However, as they are migrated to the Cushon platform in the coming months, he said that they will gain access to Cushon’s app.
He added: “Following the current review of the default and self-select funds, we anticipate that, in the future, the WPT investments will likely switch to the Cushon Sustainable Investment Strategy.”
Read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine