The Lander & Rogers Superannuation Alert is a brief overview of new developments in the superannuation industry.
- On 19 December 2014, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (Committee) released its 'Inquiry into proposals to lift the professional, ethical and educations standards in the financial services industry' report. In the 103-page report, the Committee makes 14 recommendations and summarises its approach as:
- 'clarifying who can provide financial advice by protecting the title and function;
- improving the qualifications and competence of financial advisers;
- enhancing professional standards and ethics; and
- implementing transitional arrangements.'
- On 19 December 2014, ASIC released 'Consultation Paper 227 Disclosure and reporting requirements for superannuation trustees: s29QC' for feedback from registrable superannuation entity licensees (RSE licensees). The consultation paper sets out ASIC's proposals for addressing the consistency requirements under s29QC of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act). According to ASIC, the consultation paper is aimed at improving the comparability of information about superannuation products for consumers. Submissions should be sent by 13 March 2015.
- On 22 December 2014, a revised version of 'SRS 711.0 Superstream Benchmarking Measures' and an accompanying letter to RSE licensees was released by APRA. The revised SRS 711.0 will apply to reporting periods from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2019. For the quarter ending 30 June 2015, the first submission of data will be due by 28 October 2015. APRA outlines that the revised standard will reduce reporting costs under SRS 711.0 for the industry whilst still ensuring that useful metrics are gathered regarding the achievement of key SuperStream outcomes. According to APRA, SRS 711.0 was amended to 'limit the SuperStream reporting requirements to information relating to contributions, including the take up of fully SuperStream complaint contributions, alternate channels and non-conforming channels.'
- In December 2014, ASIC made its submission to the inquiry into the Scrutiny of Financial Advice. The submission outlines how ASIC is conducting a surveillance project on conflicts of interest in vertically integrated wealth business structures. According to ASIC, a report of its findings will be released shortly after the project is expected to finish in June 2015.
- On 16 January 2015, APRA released finalised reporting standards for 'select investment options' on its website. This included a response to submissions, four finalised reporting standards, reporting forms and instructions. According to APRA, the four reporting standards 'require the submission of quarterly information about investment performance, asset allocation and member flows, as well as structural information about the select investment options'.
The four reporting standards are:
- Reporting standard SRS 533.1 Asset Allocation and Members' Benefit Flows (SRS 533.1);
- Reporting Standard SRS 702.1 Investment Performance (SRS 702.1);
- Reporting Standard SRS 001.0 Profile and Structure (Baseline) (SRS 001.0); and
- Reporting Standard SRS 601.0 Profile and Structure (RSE) (SRS 601.0).
In APRA's media release, APRA states that the requirements in SRS 533.1 and SRS 702.1 are to take effect from 1 July 2015, while the changes to SRS 001.1 and 601.0 are to take effect from 30 June 2015. APRA also said it will grant transitional relief for 18 months to allow RSE licensees 35 calendar days to submit SRS 533.1 and SRS 702.1. While from 1 January 2017, RSE licenses will be required to submit these forms within 28 days from the reporting due date.
- On 23 January 2015, the Federal Court of Australia published its reasons in Olesen v Early Sunshine Pty Ltd & Ors  FCA 12, making various declarations and imposing civil pecuniary penalties upon the directors of a corporate trustee of a regulated superannuation fund in respect of admitted contraventions of the SIS Act. In doing so, the Court gave effect to an agreed resolution of enforcement proceedings brought by the Deputy Commission of Taxation (Superannuation). The contraventions included failing to ensure the superannuation fund was maintained for prescribed purposes (s 62(1) SIS Act), breaching in-house assets rules (s 84(1) SIS Act), and failing to deal with an entity at arm's length (s 109(1)).
- On 27 January 2015, APRA released a consultation package, and the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issued an information paper, regarding consultation with the superannuation industry on additional superannuation data collection under proposed new reporting standards that would primarily be used by the ABS . The consultation package also includes an accompanying consultation letter to RSE licensees. Final submissions are requested by 17 April 2015. The proposed reporting standards that APRA have issued for public comment are:
- Draft Reporting Standard SRS 720.0 ABS Statement of Financial Position;
- Draft Reporting Standard SRS 721.0 ABS Securities Subject to Repurchase and Resale and Stock Lending and Borrowing;
- Draft Reporting Standard SRS 722.0 ABS Derivatives Schedule; and
- Draft Reporting Standard SRS 730.0 ABS Income and Expenditure.
According to APRA, the proposed standards would take effect on and from 1 January 2016.