ASIC finds 15% of super funds fail on transparency

ASIC has identified 21 super fund trustees that failed to meet transparency information (TI) requirements on their websites, following an earlier review as part of the Stronger Super reforms.

Under s29QB of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act), each superannuation fund must disclose TI on a website and keep it up-to-date at all times.

Representing 15 per cent of the trustee population, 21 super funds were identified as failing to meet the TI requirements. Two of the funds had assets exceeding $10 billion, while the rest were smaller funds.

TI comprises executive remuneration disclosure and other information about the super funds’ governance and must be publicly available on each super fund’s website.

Information such as the trustee directors’ remuneration for the last two financial years, fund trust deeds and product disclosure statements, a summary of significant event notices sent to fund members in the last two years and a summary of how the trustee voted in the last financial year in relation to listed shares held by the fund are some examples of TI requirements.

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 on the fund’s name using an internet search engine and that the website homepage should prominently point to the Transparency Information,” Mr Kell said.

Of the 21, 10 funds had no super fund website, four funds had no TI on their website, five funds had no remuneration information and two funds had remuneration disclosed in bands, rather than for each individual executive officer.

As a result of ASIC’s intervention, seven trustees disclosed the required information, five made it easier to find the information and trustees of two small funds, which did not have websites, sought relief from TI obligations, despite ASIC being unable to grant relief for breaches that have already occurred.

Seven trustees transferred fund members to another fund before winding up the fund, while two trustees improved their procedures for ensuring that TI is up-to-date.

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