The Federal Government has placed superannuation fund governance and default superannuation back on its policy agenda, with the Assisting Treasurer, Stuart Robert, using an industry forum to reinforce that legislation is currently before the Parliament to ensure workers have choice of fund.
Despite reports the Government had shelved its fund governance approach, based on majority independent directors, Robert made clear it was still very much part of the Government’s legislative approach to superannuation.
In doing so, the Assistant Treasurer pointed to the manner in which draft Productivity Commission (PC) recommendations had been reflected in the Government’s “Protecting your Super” package but, more importantly, he also pointed to the Government’s Member Outcome Package introducing a minimum independence standard for superannuation trustee boards “to strengthen the oversight and conflict management of funds”.
He said the PC’s draft had highlighted problems with duplicate accounts and erosion of small balances by fees and charges and recommended change to default insurance in superannuation.
“Findings in the draft report also reinforced the need for other reforms the Government currently has before the Senate to ensure funds operate transparently and in the best interests of members,” Robert said.
“These include measures to ensure APRA is appropriately informed about the financial activity of funds it regulates, and changes that would ensure workers can actually choose their fund rather than be compelled to pay into a fund chosen by their employer.”
The Assistant Treasurer also pointed to the Government’s Member Outcomes legislative package, reinforcing that it would impose civil and criminal penalties on superannuation directors who fail to execute their responsibilities to act in the best interests of members.