Money Your Super Superannuation governance legislation to return to Parliament

Superannuation governance legislation to return to Parliament

Kelly o'Dwyer superannuation changes
Minister for Revenue Kelly O'Dwyer during Question Time in Parliament this week. Photo: AAP
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Legislation aimed at reforming governance procedures for superannuation funds is to be reintroduced to Parliament this week.

Measures to be driven by the legislation include mandating the make-up of superannuation fund boards to include one-third independent directors and an independent chair.

The measure foundered on crossbench Senate opposition in 2015 and was delayed by the election the following year.

It is one of a package of three bills involving super industry regulation.

It will be accompanied by bills aimed at boosting transparency and accountability and enhancing fund choice for workers. The new legislation will also close a $1 billion loophole that allows employers to use their mandated super guarantee payments to cover employees’ salary sacrifice choices.

The $545 billion industry super movement has opposed the changes to board requirements.

Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said: “Industry super funds are deliberately different and have been immune to the scandals that continue to cause significant consumer loss and hardship.

“Member-first governance and culture is the reason industry super funds outperform bank-owned super funds.”

For the 10 years to June 30, 2017, SuperRatings monthly data shows, on average, industry super funds outperformed bank-owned super funds by more than 2 per cent over 10 years.

“The success of the trustee governance model is evident in the outperformance of the industry super sector over the bank-owned super sector,” said Mr Whiteley.

Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer told Parliament that the package was a “very comprehensive reform to our compulsory superannuation system to protect members’ interests, to make sure that their money is protected”.

Passage of the legislation will depend on the attitude of the Senate crossbench because it is opposed by the Labor opposition. Key powerbrokers like the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team will be lobbied heavily by supporters and opponents of the changes.

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