The Lander & Rogers Superannuation Alert is a brief overview of new developments in the superannuation industry.
|Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services||
On 30 November 2017, the Prime Minister and Treasurer announced that the Government will establish a Royal Commission into the alleged misconduct of Australia's banks and other financial services entities. According to the media release:
The Draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission were alsopublished.
|Speech by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference||
On 1 December 2017, Kelly O'Dwyer, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, delivered a speech at the annual ASFA conference noting the Government's initiatives and also stating, among other things:
|APRA||Speech by APRA Deputy Chairman at ASFA conference||
On 29 November 2017, APRA Deputy Chairman Helen Rowell delivered a speech at the annual ASFA conference in relation to APRA's proposed changes to its superannuation prudential framework, ahead of the release of a detailed consultation package, which is expected soon. In the speech Ms Rowell outlined some of the key features of APRA's proposals which, she said, "are designed to put pressure on poor performers — irrespective of industry segment — to lift their game or, if needed improvement is not possible within a reasonable timeframe, to gracefully exit the industry".
In the speech Ms Rowell stated, among other things, that:
Ms Rowell considers that there are too many investment options within super, and that under APRA's proposed member outcomes assessment, and as part of sound strategic and business planning, APRA will expect trustees to seriously consider the optimal number of investment options that they should be providing to efficiently deliver "quality outcomes" for members. They should also question whether members might be better off with a smaller number of options delivering appropriate risk/return outcomes and a reduction in fees and fund administration costs.
APRA expects that superannuation boards will continue to grow more diverse generally, which APRA considers positive for member outcomes, and with respect to independent directors in particular, that preliminary analysis suggests that trustees with outcomes at the better end of the industry, on average, appear to be those that have appointed independent or non-affiliated directors.
|ATO||Speech by Deputy Commissioner of ATO at ASFA conference||ATO website||
On 30 November 2017, James O'Halloran, Deputy Commissioner Superannuation of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), delivered a speech at the annual ASFA conference, noting, among other things, that:
|Case law update||Decision to decline TPD claim upheld||Williams v Mercer Superannuation (Australia)Limited & Ors  QDC 289||
On 1 December 2017, the District Court of Queensland handed down its decision in Williams v Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited & Ors  QDC 289 in which it dismissed claims made by the plaintiff against a superannuation fund trustee and insurer in relation to a declined claim for a total and permanent disablement benefit.
The Court ultimately found that the plaintiff was not totally and permanently disabled within the meaning of the relevant group life insurance policy issued by the insurer to the fund trustee. Some of the key aspects of the decision included: