Super news and reports
30 June 2021 - ASIC and APRA letter to trustees on oversight of advice fee deductions from member accounts
ASIC and APRA have issued a joint letter outlining the regulators’ expectations of superannuation trustees in their oversight of financial advice fees charged to members’ accounts. The letter provides additional guidance informed by surveillances of trustees’ oversight frameworks and practices, cases identified during the Financial Services Royal Commission, and new obligations introduced by the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2) Act 2021, which commences on 1 July 2021.
29 June 2021 – ASIC and APRA release notes on inaugural Superannuation CEO Roundtable
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) have released the public notes on the inaugural Superannuation CEO Roundtable held on Friday 30 April 2021.
The Roundtable was hosted by ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press and APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell. It was attended by the CEOs of 11 superannuation trustees, representing all sectors of the industry.
ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press wrote to all superannuation trustee CEOs recently, highlighting the importance of CEO level engagement with the obligations set out in Regulatory Guide 271 – Internal Dispute Resolution (RG 271). These obligations commence 5 October 2021. ASIC is also seeking information from the superannuation industry to understand progress of their preparations for RG 271.
ASIC has issued a letter to superannuation trustees who from 1 January 2021, are authorised provide a superannuation trustee service by their Australian financial services licence. Only superannuation trustees who are existing Australian financial services licensees authorised to deal in superannuation and who are also RSE licensees regulated by APRA are taken by law to be authorised for the new financial service.
ASIC’s letter provides further information about the licensing regime changes that are relevant to them.
15 December 2020 – APRA and ASIC letter in relation to the Member Outcomes obligations and Product design and distribution obligations
APRA and ASIC have issued a joint letter to RSE licensees in relation to the Member Outcomes (MO) obligations and the Product design and distribution obligations (DDOs), to assist RSE licensees to better understand the way in which the MO obligations and the DDOs interact.
1 April 2020 – ASIC and APRA letter to superannuation trustees on impact of COVID-19
The unusual and challenging circumstances associated with COVID-19 require trustees to make new business arrangements, amend priorities and adjust their short-term investment strategies.
14 February 2020 – ASIC and APRA welcome law reform on superannuation regulatory roles
ASIC and APRA have jointly welcomed the proposed legislative reforms increasing the role of ASIC in superannuation. The regulators have issued a joint letter to superannuation trustees explaining how regulatory oversight will operate (assuming the reforms become law) and how ASIC and APRA will work together to more effectively promote better outcomes for members.
13 December 2019 – Superannuation industry urged to focus on improving insurance outcomes for members
ASIC has released Report 646 on the superannuation industry’s progress in improving consumer outcomes in relation to life insurance provided through superannuation.
29 October 2019 – Member communications in relation to Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Act 2019 and Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Act 2019
ASIC has issued a letter to superannuation industry associations to highlight expectations relating to member communications associated with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Act 2019 and further member communications associated with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Act 2019.
4 October 2019 – Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice
ASIC has issued a letter to superannuation industry associations, outlining our observations and concerns about the implementation of the Insurance in Super Voluntary Code of Practice.
10 April 2019 – ASIC and APRA publish joint letter on superannuation fees
ASIC and APRA have written to all registerable superannuation entity licensees to reinforce the importance of ensuring fees charged to members are in line with the members’ best interests.
ASIC has released internal dispute resolution (IDR) reporting documents, which will be tested in a pilot involving financial firms from across relevant industry subsectors in late 2021.
ASIC has extended existing licensing relief for public offer trustees to include all registrable superannuation entities to ensure that non-public offer trustees are regulated consistently with public offer trustees under the Corporations Act 2001.
ASIC has made three legislative instruments that deal with advice fee consents and independence disclosure following Royal Assent of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No.2) Act 2021 earlier this month.
Report 675 Default insurance in superannuation: Member value for money (REP 675) explores metrics that can help superannuation trustees analyse the value for money of default insurance and deliver better outcomes for members.
8 December 2020 – ASIC extends relief from portfolio holdings disclosure
ASIC has deferred the first reporting date for superannuation funds to disclose their portfolio holdings because the regulations supporting the requirements have not yet been made.
An ASIC review of default occupational categories in life insurance held through superannuation has identified ways for trustees to improve member outcomes and better meet legal obligations.
20 November 2020 – ASIC releases consumer research on insurance in super
Report 673 Consumer engagement in insurance in super (REP 673) presents findings from research exploring the experiences of superannuation fund members, who were not using a financial adviser and directly contacted their fund to make enquiries about or make changes to their insurance arrangements.
25 September 2020 – ASIC extends COVID-19 relief for certain capital raisings and financial advice
ASIC is extending the temporary relief for capital raisings and financial advice due to the continuing uncertain impacts of COVID-19. ASIC is also extending the financial advice relief related to the COVID-19 early release of superannuation scheme in light of the extension of the scheme by the Government.
Superannuation trustees that were classifying new members as ‘smokers’ by default and charging them higher life insurance premiums have ceased this practice, and some trustees have remediated members for the extra premiums paid.
ASIC has today released updated requirements for how financial firms deal with consumer and small business complaints – under their Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedures.
Released 14 December 2020. This report shares insights from ASIC’s work on metrics for measuring the value for money that members receive from default insurance offered through superannuation. Superannuation trustees should reflect on our findings to improve how they measure member outcomes. This report forms part of ASIC’s broader work on insurance in superannuation.
Released 20 November 2020. The report prepared by Susan Bell Research presents findings from research exploring the experiences of superannuation fund members, who were not using a financial adviser, and directly contacted their fund to make enquiries about or make changes to their insurance arrangements.
Released 30 July 2020. This report highlights the key issues that arose out of the submissions received on Consultation Paper 311 Internal dispute resolution: Update to RG 165 (CP 311) and details our responses to those issues.
Released 12 February 2020. This report details our review of trustee communications to superannuation fund members in relation to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Act 2019 (PYSP Act). It outlines our expectations about trustees’ future communications to members and contributes to ASIC’s ongoing body of work in relation to insurance in superannuation.
Released 13 December 2019. This report provides background to our work in insurance in superannuation. It also examines industry progress on the implementation of the Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice.
Released 3 December 2019. This report examines the ways in which superannuation funds help members obtain financial advice and the quality of personal advice obtained through the funds.
Released 17 October 2019. This report summarises the findings and recommendations from ASIC’s thematic review of total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance in Australia.
Released 14 October 2019. This report focuses on the real-world context in which disclosure operates.
Released 7 September 2018. This report sets out the findings from recent ASIC work on issues relevant to the consumer experience of insurance provided through superannuation.
Released 28 June 2018. This report gives a comprehensive overview of research commissioned by ASIC into the experiences Australians have when setting up and running self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
June 2021 – Product distribution: get ready for change
Distribution rules for superannuation products are changing. Industry needs to be prepared for these reforms and should pay particular attention to the design and distribution obligations, which commence this October. ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, Jane Eccleston, answers some common questions about how the design and distribution obligations affect superannuation in ASFA’s Superfunds magazine.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Regulatory Guide 271: Internal dispute resolution (RG 271) was released in July 2020 and contains updated standards and requirements that will drive financial services firms to ensure they handle consumer complaints in a fair and timely manner. RG 271 supersedes Regulatory Guide 165 Licensing: Internal and external dispute resolution, and is intended to raise internal dispute resolution (IDR) standards in the industry by encouraging firms to address systemic issues that may exist across their business.
12 March 2021 – Insurance in super: Turning data into outcomes
Recent changes to superannuation laws have created many immediate pressures and opportunities for trustees. One opportunity trustees have now is to think holistically about their systems and processes: can they be improved to deliver better outcomes for members and avoid poor outcomes that may only become apparent years down the track? Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, discusses some of ASIC’s recent work on insurance in superannuation and how trustees can use data to improve the insurance they provide to members.
4 February 2021 – Reforms of the core regulatory framework for superannuation
Government reforms that expand ASIC’s role in superannuation commenced on 1 January 2021. The reforms enable ASIC to play a more effective role in regulating conduct in the superannuation industry to promote better consumer outcomes and market integrity. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what the reforms mean for trustees, ASIC’s approach to the changes, and how ASIC and APRA will continue to work together as co-regulators of superannuation.
4 December 2020 – Clarifying intra-fund advice
Superannuation members can receive limited financial advice about their superannuation from their superannuation fund at no extra cost. This advice model is generally referred to as intra-fund advice. However, the term ‘intra-fund advice’ has been subject to some confusion. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what intra-fund advice is and what ASIC expects of intra-fund advice providers.
10 November 2020 – 2020-21: ASIC’s focus in superannuation
Two things are certain for the superannuation industry this year: that the uncertainty and challenges created by COVID-19 are continuing, and that in the face of this uncertainty, trustees’ obligations to their members remain important. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, discusses ASIC’s priorities for 2020-21.