Forget the noise around the industry versus retail fund debate, the two sectors have been collaborating extensively in recent years, according to the industry funds body, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
In a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into Superannuation Competitive and Efficiency, AIST chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck pointed to the Insurance inside Super Working Group (ISWG) and other policy developments as a measure of that collaboration which had been “overshadowed by areas of disagreement”.
“There has been extensive collaboration between retail and profit-to-member superannuation funds in recent years that has tended to be overshadowed by areas of disagreement,” she said in the submission and noted work on Stronger Super, MySuper and SuperStream as well as the establishment of the Superannuation Transaction Network.
“However, working together on a cross-industry code of practice is a new development, and one that we believe the Commission should applaud,” the AIST submission said.
“Furthermore, the ISWG processes have involved, and will continue to involve, a commitment to
deep and transformative change on the part of individual funds,” it said. “The changes that will be brought about by the Code were developed in large part by funds and insurers working closely together, and their significance should not be underestimated. This has involved a significant cost, time and expert investment by funds, and included compromises by industry participants.”
The submission said that while the focus of super funds and their industry associations was on firstly, their statement of intent to adopt the Code, and secondly, the initial transition process, the industry associations had also commenced the process of considering next steps.
“The Code owners have been meeting regularly. AIST and [Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia] ASFA are planning to meet on Monday, 16 April to discuss the scope of work, and consequent prioritisation and timetabling for further development of the Code and are hopeful that the [Financial Services Council] FSC will also attend,” the submission said.