The Lander & Rogers Superannuation Alert is a brief overview of new developments in the superannuation industry. 

  • On 17 October 2016, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O'Dwyer, issued a media release stating that the Government "will introduce legislation into the Parliament this year to mandate professional standards for financial advisers".  The media release states that "the new professional standards regime will commence on 1 January 2019", with existing financial advisers having "until 1 January 2021 to pass the new exam and until 1 January 2024 to reach degree-equivalent status".  The proposed new regime will include:
    • "compulsory education requirements for both new and existing financial advisers;
    • supervision requirements for new advisers;
    • a code of ethics for the industry;
    • an exam that will represent a common benchmark across the industry; and
    • an ongoing professional development component."
       
  • On 19 October 2016, the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives.  The Explanatory Memorandum states that the Bill amends the Privacy Act 1988 to "introduce mandatory data breach notification provisions for agencies, organisations and certain other entities that are regulated by the Privacy Act".  Under the proposed Bill, an entity is required to notify the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals where it has reasonable grounds to believe that an "eligible data breach" has happened.  Under the proposed provisions of the Bill, a data breach is an "eligible data breach" where a reasonable person would conclude that there is a likely risk of serious harm to any of the affected individuals as a result of the unauthorised access or unauthorised disclosure.
  • On 19 October 2016, the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Tasmania handed down their judgement in The Retirement Benefits Fund Board v Wood [2016] TASFC 9. The case considered whether a judge (Respondent) who had previously been a magistrate remained a contributor of the Retirement Benefits Fund after she became a Supreme Court judge. The Supreme Court Act (TAS) allowed a person to be a contributor to the Contributory Scheme (a defined benefits scheme) under the Retirement Benefits Act 1993 (TAS).  However, in the event that the person was appointed a judge, the person became a member of the accumulation scheme instead.  The Court found that although the Respondent was a contributor as a magistrate, she ceased to be a contributor when she ceased employment as a magistrate in order to become a judge.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court considered the nature of the rights held by members of a superannuation scheme, being "an equitable right to have the fund properly administered" rather than a "present vested right to any part of the fund". The Court also considered the definition of "cessation of employment", and found that the Respondent's employment had ceased when she became a judge.