The Coalition is pushing ahead to make Australia’s industry super funds more like the banks, with public hearings into a Bill that, if passed, will fundamentally change the way they’re governed.
Today’s Sydney hearings follow Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s vow in 2016 to “lift superannuation funds to at least the same standard as other financial services organisations like banks and life insurance companies”.*
Industry Super Australia public affairs director Matt Linden said: “If it wasn’t so serious for the retirement savings of working Australians, the Minister’s vow to make industry funds more like the banks would be funny”.
“In the past two years, those financial institutions and related parties have paid around $480 million in refunds and compensation to customers as a result of admitted or alleged misconduct,” said Linden.
"The government should be throwing the book at the banks - instead they’re changing the super rules for their benefit."
“Not-for-profit industry super boards, on the other hand, are governed under an equal representation model of employer and union directors used by the world’s very best pension systems”.
“Industry super funds have on average consistently outperformed bank-owned retail funds on member returns; invested in vital nation-building projects; and fought for the economic security of older women, fairer pension changes, and consumer protections in financial advice”.
“The industry super fund record stands testament to its governance model,” said Linden
"With no evidence of member benefit or public interest in these proposed changes, the only conclusion is that the government has caved into bank lobbying, is running an ideological agenda, or both."
“Be more like the banks? No thanks,” he said.
The Trustee Governance Bill, previously defeated in 2015 by the Senate crossbench, is one in a package of super reforms. The three reform bills are: Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017;Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 2) – Choice of Fund; and, Unpaid Super Superannuation Laws Amendment (Strengthening Trustee Arrangements) Bill 2017). Industry Super has made four separate submissions on these Bills.
They cover: trustee governance; unpaid super; choice of fund; and member outcomes.
The Senate Committee charged with scrutinising the legislation is scheduled to report its findings by 23 October. The parliament will then be required to vote on the Bills. Industry Super is calling on parliament to oppose them.
*Quote from “Super industry laughs at O’Dwyer”, Australian Financial Review, 23 Nov 2016
The hearings are being held today at the Portside Centre, Kent St, Sydney. Matt Linden is speaking at 2.40pm. He is available for interview. Media contact: Phil Davey 0414 867 188
Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 15 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of five million Australians.