Goose or gander: Who gets the frequent flyers?

Outsider noted the level of adviser angst at the news that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had selected the biggest industry fund, AustralianSuper, as the default fund for new ASIC employees.

Not entirely unexpectedly, some financial advisers took the selection of AustralianSuper as being further evidence of the regulator showing a preference for industry funds over retail master trusts, which might not have been entirely fair given the fund’s consistency in terms of investment returns and its levels of member service.

However, Outsider notes that AustralianSuper last gained some notoriety because of its offer of Qantas Frequent Flyer points to new members – something which raised questions about whether it was playing fast and loose with the sole purpose test and member best interest – a matter which should properly have been examined by the regulators.

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ASIC’s announcement of the selection of AustralianSuper as its default fund did not specify whether its new employees would be able to access the Frequent Flyer offer, but past convention in the Australian Public Service is that the department owned any points garnered from flying on business, not the individual public servant.

However, ASIC is no longer covered by the Public Service Act and is seeking to compete with other financial services firms on equal terms so Outsider wonders whether what is good for an investment banking goose is good for a regulatory gander.

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