Treasury released 50 pages of draft regulations for comment last night.
The exposure draft Superannuation Legislation Amendment (MySuper Measures) Regulation 2013 sets out the proposed requirements for:
- “product dashboards” for MySuper products;
- disclosing information relating to superannuation fund investments (portfolio holdings); and
- disclosing information about executive officer remuneration and the fund.
Amendments will also be made to PDS content requirements for superannuation products. There are also amendments to requirements relating to actuarial standards and defined benefit funds and other minor amendments including some changes to periodic statements, and additional information that trustees must give to APRA. This includes written notice of a trustee’s decision to transfer a member’s benefits from the fund, without the member’s consent. While this is intended to capture a decision to effect a successor fund transfer, it could also capture a decision to transfer a member’s accrued default amount to another fund or to transfer a member’s benefit to an eligible rollover fund.
Trustees will be required to provide the product dashboard information in a “product dashboard table”. The table must include 4 items: the net return target, level of investment risk, statement of fees and other costs and net return performance. The net return performance must be set out as a graph in the table. If the MySuper product and any “predecessor product” has been offered for more than 10 years, the calculation period is 10 years. Otherwise, it is the period over which the product has been offered. It appears that a default investment option that was rebadged as a MySuper product will be a predecessor product, although the definition of predecessor product in the draft regulations is unclear and appears to have some words missing.
If a MySuper product has a lifecycle investment strategy a product dashboard table must be provided in relation to each age-based cohort.
The regulations will also allow a lifecycle strategy to take into account the member’s account balance, contribution rates, current salary, gender and the likely time remaining to a member’s retirement date in addition to (and not instead of) the member’s age.
The regulations do not contain any comparable provisions in relation to choice investment options.
Trustees will be required to disclose information about a fund’s investment of assets in tables set out in accordance with the regulations. A table must provide information about each “final product” and other “property” which is attributable to each MySuper product and other investment option. The table must include, if relevant, the number of units held in the final product or property and the price of the unit. The total invested in the MySuper product or investment option must also be included.
A separate table must provide additional information about each “investing product”, final product and other property. That information includes, if relevant, the number of units held and the price of the unit at the end of the reporting day. It also includes the total invested in the investing product, final product or other property at the end of the reporting day.
If one’s head is not already spinning, there is this requirement: “If an investing product (the first investing product) invests in another investing product (the second investing product) and the second investing product invests in another investing product, and so on, the series of financial investments must be shown by setting out the information about the second investing product and all subsequent financial investments under the information about the first investing product”. This smacks of Groucho Marx’s: “The party in the first part, shall be known as the party in the first part; the party in the second part, shall be known as the party in the second part…”. We have also never seen the words “and so on” in draft legislation before.
A “final product” is a financial product that is not an “investing product” in which a fund or an investing product invests. An “investing product” is a financial product that invests an asset of a superannuation fund or an asset derived from an asset of a fund in another financial product or property.
There is no materiality threshold notwithstanding a specific power in the Act to set a materiality threshold by regulation.
Remuneration of executive officers
Trustees will be required to disclose information about the positions held by, and benefits provided to, its executive officers and former executive officers. The information is not limited to benefits provided by the trustee. Benefits include salary and bonuses, superannuation benefits, sign on bonuses, retention payments, termination payments, shares, rights and options.
PDS content requirements
Three are changes to the fees and costs template for superannuation products, largely to take account of the MySuper and general fee rules and a requirement to include information about where the member can find information about the fund’s portfolio holdings, the product dashboard and executive remuneration disclosure.
There is also a requirement to include a statement describing the trustee’s process for transitioning accrued default amounts to MySuper products. While this information might make sense in a periodic statement for existing members, it is not clear why it needs to be included in a PDS for a new member who is unlikely to have an accrued default amount in the product.
Trustees will be required to make publicly available a range of materials including trust deeds, rules relating to the appointment and removal of directors, each PDS, a summary of each significant event or material change notice to members, the name of each outsourced service provider, information about each director including a record of their attendance at board meetings. While some of this is uncontroversial, others may not be. For example, significant event notices may be required to be given to a small group of members only about their own benefits. In that case, it is not clear why there is any public interest in making a summary of the notice publicly available.
If a complaint relates to a benefit other than a death benefit the trustee must inform an “eligible person” (a beneficiary, former beneficiary or an executor or administrator of a deceased beneficiary) that they can ask for reasons for the trustee’s decision and that the reasons “must be given” within a specified time-frame. It is interesting to consider whether, by making this required statement, a trustee assumes an obligation to provide reasons for decisions, where a specific obligation to that effect does not exist.
Submissions are invited, but they must be made by 15 May.