ASIC cracks down on super funds hiding info from consumers

Some super funds falling short of their public disclosure requirements.

Some super funds falling short of their public disclosure requirements

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued warnings to 21 super funds that have fallen short of transparency disclosure requirements.

ASIC revealed that the 21 super funds that were found to have transparency information (TI) issues represented 15 per cent of the trustee population and eight per cent of the funds regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

News of the crackdown comes in the wake of ASIC’s report on a lack of disclosure from some super funds regarding the default position on their insurance coverage.

The transparency deficiencies identified in ASIC's review comprised:

  • No super fund website (10 funds)
  • No TI on the fund website (four funds)
  • No remuneration information (five funds); and
  • Remuneration disclosed in bands, rather than for each individual executive officer (two funds).

Seven trustees transferred members to another fund before winding up as a result of ASIC’s action, while a further seven funds have now made changes and disclosed the required information. Another five funds have made it easier to find the required information. Two small funds that did not operate web sites sought relief from ASIC from their TI obligations.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said the economic significance of superannuation meant that information about the superannuation industry should be transparent, both for fund members and gatekeepers such as analysts, advisers and journalists.

“ASIC's expectation is that super fund websites should be easily found by searching for the fund's name using an internet search engine and that the website homepage should prominently point to the Transparency Information,” Mr Kell said.

Some examples of TI requirements that should be readily available on your super fund’s web site are:

  • trustee directors’ remuneration for the past two financial years
  • fund trust deeds and product disclosure statements
  • a summary of significant event notices sent to fund members in the past two years; and
  • a summary of how the trustee voted in the last financial year in relation to listed shares held by the fund.

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