Amid concerns expressed by some advisers about consumer group influence on the board of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), the Government has moved to inject greater consumer influence over the superannuation sector.
The Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume has announced the calling of expressions of interest for the formation of a consumer advocacy body for superannuation in line with the recommendation of the Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission (PC).
In doing so, Senator Hume said it fulfilled the Government’s 2019-20 Budget commitment to identify options to support the establishment of the advocacy body.
Her statement said the establishment of the advocacy body was a key recommendation of the PC’s report Superannuation: Assessing Efficiency and Competitiveness, which found that superannuation discourse is dominated by the interests of funds and trustees rather than members.
It said that the move was also consistent with commentary in the final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on the benefits of funding consumer advocacy services.
Hume’s statement said that with 15 million members and over $2.9 trillion worth of superannuation savings, it was vital that the superannuation system worked in the interests of all Australians.
“The body will fill a critical void in superannuation policy debates by becoming the voice of consumers,” it said.
The minister’s statement has called on “interested parties” to provide feedback on how the body should be established and funded, its functions, and its governance and accountability arrangements.