Superannuation Alert - 16.09.2015
Financial Services eBulletin - 16 September 2015
The Lander & Rogers Superannuation Alert is a brief overview of new developments in the superannuation industry.
- On 10 September 2015, in a Treasury website release, the Government invited submissions in relation to the Government's "capability review" of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This follows the media release by the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, announcing the review on 24 July 2015.
The scope and purpose of the capability review is to "examine, and make recommendations on how efficiently and effectively ASIC operates to achieve its strategic objectives, including:
- identification and analysis of immediate and future priorities and risks including financial system conduct risks;
- resource prioritisation and responsiveness to emerging issues;
- the skills, capabilities and culture of the Commission and its staff, including in respect of internal review and improvement mechanisms; and
- organisational governance and accountability arrangements."
The closing date for submissions is 25 September 2015.
- On 10 September 2015, the ATO updated their website to include the SuperStream Reference Group (SSRG) Terms of Reference. In a related statement the ATO calls for nominations from stakeholders within the superannuation industry to become members of the SSRG. According to the SSRG Terms of Reference, the purpose of the SSRG is to "discuss issues which have an impact on the implementation of the SuperStream reforms" and will focus on "industry readiness for the commencement of the superannuation data and payment standard".
- On 14 September 2015, the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 4) Bill 2015 passed the House of Representatives and was introduced and read in the Senate. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill proposes to amend, among other things, the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 to "increase the account balance threshold below which small lost member accounts must be transferred to the Commissioner of Taxation from $2,000 to $4,000 from 31 December 2015, and from $4,000 to $6,000 from 31 December 2016".
- On 15 September 2015, ASIC issued a media release announcing the provision by ASIC of an "overview of some compliance issues identified during proactive surveillance of responsible entities and superannuation trustees that are also holders of an Australian financial services (AFS) licence." The media release sets out some of the concerns for superannuation trustees arising from the surveillance activities, which include:
- presenting rollover forms with product disclosure statements which gave new members the impression that they were required to rollover their existing superannuation accounts into the fund in order to become members;
- promoting "self-managed investment" options as providing the same level of control and choice as self-managed superannuation funds, when in fact the option did not afford the same control and choice of a self-managed superannuation fund; and
- the lack of a balanced message about "product risks and benefits" in promotional material and advertisements for financial products.
In the release, ASIC note that the identification of these issues resulted in a "number of regulatory outcomes" which, amongst other things, required the responsible entities and superannuation trustees to take steps to update procedures and compliance measures to comply with regulations. ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell is quoted in the media release as saying ASIC will continue to review licences to "rectify any deficiencies and to improve overall industry standards".
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