EISS Super have not accepted any sponsorship proposals since the Your Future, Your Super legislation proposals on superannuation sponsorship were released in June as they are “looking at the impacting effect” of the legislation.
Speaking at a parliamentary hearing committee, EISS chair, Peter Tighe said the industry super fund had not entered into any new contracts since the new legislation came into force.
When asked about how conflicts of interests were managed in relation to sponsorships, Tighe said it was up to the team overseeing its community engagement program to evaluate whether a sponsorship application had any conflicts of interest.
Tighe said it was not up to the board to look at conflicts of interest.
“For people working in the team where these decisions are made there's an obligation if there is a commercial interest for people to flag that commercial interest. We've looked at that area and we don't believe there's been any policy breaches in relation to conflict of interest,” he said.
“The team that looks after the community engagement program will make a recommendation to the chief executive officer who signs off on that. The chief executive officer signs off on it under a delegated authority from the board, and then the board gets an overarching report and is involved in setting the budget for that program.
“But the individual decisions in relation to merit don't come to the board. They're done through the administration process and signed off by the CEO who has this responsibility because of the financial obligations associated with his role.”
When asked whether there was a conflict of interest with the fund’s sponsorship of Ronald McDonald House given the sponsorship manager at EISS formerly worked at Ronald McDonald House and that the CEO’s wife became a manager at the charity, Tighe said there was no conflict.
Tighe and new chief executive, Lance Foster, both said the sponsorship manager worked at the charity prior to the sponsorship being entered and that the CEO’s wife had joined the charity after the sponsorship had been entered.
Liberal backbencher, Jason Falinski, said it was a conflict because “you're spending other people's money. I know this is difficult for industry super to understand, but it's not your money. When you start giving it away to people, and there is no management of conflicts, that's a problem. Does that make sense?”
Tighe said Falinski was talking about an occurrence that occurred after the application was oversighted and that if something arose after the event he did not see how that would be relevant to the memorandum of understanding that had been signed.
The hearing followed the resignation of its former CEO Alex Hutchison that followed an investigation into excessive sponsorship and bully complaints. Hutchison said his resignation was a result of a “smear campaign” against him.