The Federal government’s cut in resources to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal has hampered its capacity to deal with complaints brought by super fund members, the organisation’s annual report for 2015-16 says.
Overall staff numbers during the year were reduced from 39 to 32, an 18 per cent cut.
There were 2,252 complaints finalised, resolved or withdrawn during the year – a decrease of 651 complaints, or 22.4 per cent, on 2014-15 year, the report said.
Complaints to the SCT increased by a marginal 0.2 per cent in 2015-6 to 2,694.
However a change of categorisation during the year saw 326 of those complaints treated as inquiries, cutting the number of complaints by 11.1 per cent in 2015-6 to 2,368.
The total value of complaints was $109.33 million.
Death benefits were subject to the largest proportion of complaints, at 22 per cent. Complaints about death benefits jumped from 17 per cent of the total the previous year to the highest level in the last five years.
Of matters brought to the Tribunal, 23 per cent were withdrawn by the Tribunal itself, another 30 per cent by the complainant and eight per cent were determined by the Tribunal. The Tribunal found that 39 per cent of matters brought to it were outside its jurisdiction and not dealt with.
Also, a lower number of complaints were resolved at review, reflecting a reduction in availability of Tribunal members following resource cuts. During 2015-16, the Tribunal determined 173 matters at review.
This is a decline of 113 cases or 39.5 per cent, and reflects expiration of terms, timing of appointments and fewer Tribunal members following the cuts.
Generally, the focus of cases determined at review were fairly evenly spread across Death (34.7 per cent), Disability (34.7 per cent) and Administration (30.6 per cent).
Overall, the picture looks like this.