“Urgent” need for better superannuation performance data

The superannuation industry urgently needs access to better data or it risks being subjected to further recommendations or reports based on flawed data, such as some of those made by the Productivity Commission.

SMSF Association chair, Professor Deborah Ralston, today told the Association’s National Conference in Melbourne that better data could have prevented a now much-traversed issue with fund performance data in the Commission’s draft report.

In the May report, the Commission misleadingly suggested that self-managed super funds (SMSFs) weren’t cost-effective compared to Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulated funds for members with balances below $1 million. The SMSF Association, along with platform providers, later proved this incorrect.

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“This conclusion drew attention to the paucity of accurate cross-sectoral superannuation data, and the resultant difficulties in making comparisons between SMSFs and APRA-regulated funds,” Ralston said.

“[The Commission’s revision of that balance to $500,000] is a vast improvement on where the Commission started from and makes it imperative that the industry has access to improved data to ensure more informed decision-making.”

While superannuation funds must provide performance data, the format, clarity and regularity that they were required to apply to that data was less transparent. Money Management’s sister publication, Super Review, is currently undertaking a campaign to gather more transparent data from funds as it is in both members’ and funds’ interests.

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