Thursday, 4 February 2016

FILE UNDER NOTHING CHANGES: Liberal & Nationals MPs poised to help out their banker mates once more

Assistant Treasurer and Liberal MP for Higgins Kelly O'Dwyer was quick to deny the content of the media release (below) concerning the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Transparency Measures) Bill 2015: Product dashboards.

However Allens Linklater appears to support Industry Super Australia’s take on the new rules:

The Bill sets up (and proposes changes to) the application of the product dashboard rules as follows:

* Choice product dashboards now only need to be provided for a fund's 10 largest choice investment options by funds under management (with some exclusions) rather than all choice products. For the purposes of working out a fund's largest choice investment options, a lifecycle option should be treated as one option.

* Although a choice lifecycle option should be treated as one option for the purposes of identifying its size, a separate product dashboard is required for each lifecycle stage in the option (and this applies to both MySuper and choice lifecycle options).

* Eligible rollover funds and pooled superannuation funds are specifically excluded from the product dashboard rules.

Industry Super Australia, media release, 28 January 2016:


A carve out of an estimated 72% of the bank-owned and retail super sector from requirements to disclose their investment returns, fees and costs on proposed “product dashboards” for super funds could make it nearly impossible for Australians to readily make informed choices about their superannuation, industry super funds have warned.

The new federal Government proposals carve out bank-owned super funds held through platforms and some legacy products from having to disclose details on ‘dashboards’.

Product “dashboards” are designed to provide consumers with a standardised and simple presentation of fees, all underlying costs, risk and net returns.

The proposed changes mean many bank-owned super products will not have to disclose many of their underlying investment costs.

According to independent analysis by Rainmaker, as at December 2014, 72 per cent of the $572 billion of retail superannuation assets were held via platforms.

“Australians need to be able to compare the net performance of super funds to be able to make informed choices”, said David Whiteley, Chief Executive of Industry Super Australia.

“It is unsurprising that the banks oppose having to disclose the performance of their super funds in an easily comparable and transparent manner. According to SuperRatings, industry super funds have outperformed bank owned super funds over the short, medium and long term to 31 December 2015.

The Government is also seeking to remove existing limited exemptions to choice of fund legislation introduced by the Howard government at the request of employers. It is estimated the exemptions currently cover less than seven out of a hundred Australian employees.

In submissions to Treasury, ISA has recommended that the Government not proceed with the changes until:

* The product dashboard regime includes all superannuation products and investment options with no carve outs for banks and retail funds; and

* A cost benefit analysis is undertaken of the plan to remove Howard Government choice of fund rules.

“Industry super funds support a strong default fund safety net, the ability of members to choose their own fund, and access to information to make informed decisions.

“We are concerned that these proposals have not been through a rigorous evaluation. In their current form the proposals are internally inconsistent, seeking to extend choice of fund without providing consumers with the necessary information to make informed decisions.”

“Despite very few Australians actively choosing a fund other than the default one their employer has in place, everyone needs to be able to compare the performance of funds to be able to make an informed decision. It is not good enough that the banks want to hide their chronic under-performance from consumers”, said David Whiteley.


Brisbane Times, 28 January 2016:

ISA and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, the lobby group for all non-profit funds including public sector and corporate funds as well as industry funds, argued that requiring funds to produce dashboards only for their 10 largest investment options meant too many retail products would be exempt. 
In their submission to Treasury, AIST pointed to the findings of a soon-to-be-released report it commissioned by SuperRatings that showed retail MySuper fees and costs were on average 28 per cent higher than those passed on to the public by non-profit providers. 
The upcoming report will also show that in the choice market, the like-for-like fees and costs charged by retail funds were 85 per cent to 300 per cent higher than the comparable investment options from non-profit funds. 
"Members of many bank-owned super funds are being kept in the dark about high fees that will materially affect their retirement," AIST chief executive Tom Garcia said. 
All MySuper products, the no-frills funds that employers can nominate for default flows, are already required to produce a product dashboard. The new rules will extend this requirement to choice products. 
Non-profit super providers dominate the $547 billion MySuper sector with a market share of 83 per cent, while retail providers dominate the $681 billion choice sector with a market share of 64 per cent, according to the regulator's latest statistics. 

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