Is an independent chair worth $100,000 a year?

Appointing an independent chairman to a superannuation fund will cost $100,000 a year and independent main board members will cost between $50,000 and $60,000, according to the Corporate Super Association (CSA).

The Melbourne-based association has used a submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee to argue that the Government's proposed compulsion for trustee boards to include a minimum one-third independent would create a high cost for corporate funds and their members but without equivalent benefits.

The claim stands in contrast to assertions from the retail superannuation sector that some industry funds are opposing the governance changes because they will, in part, reduce the influence of union-nominated trustee directors.

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In its submission the CSA said that while an independent chairman might cost $100,000 and independent directors between $50,000 and $60,000, it was likely that committee members would cost between $35,000 and $40,000 a year.

Further, it said this was before travel and accommodation expenses for external directors were taken into account.

"The disparity may also result in a push for remuneration of all boards on the grounds of equity, resulting in significant further cost increases," it said.

"We stress that our funds are not opposed to expenditure where benefits accrue to members, but our funds are appalled at the prospect of spending members' money to reduce the efficiency of the current system."

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