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Issue 579, 17 September 2015 

In this issue: 

 

ASIC reviews transparency information on superannuation fund websites 

On 7 September 2015, ASIC announced that it recently surveyed superannuation fund websites to check industry compliance with the recently introduced requirements around executive officer remuneration and systemic transparency disclosure. 

‘Transparency information’ comprises executive remuneration disclosure and other information about superannuation funds’ governance and must be made publicly available on each fund’s website. It is required by section 29QB of the Superannuation (Industry) Supervision Act (SIS Act) and regulations 2.37 and 2.38 of the Superannuation (Industry) Supervision Regulations 1994, introduced under the Stronger Super reforms. 

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer indicated that while ASIC’s survey showed that superannuation trustees generally seem to have understood what was intended by the reforms and have made a good effort to comply, there are some areas of non-compliance. ASIC recommends that trustees make a number of simple changes to fund websites to enhance disclosure of transparency information, including: 

Commissioner Tanzer has indicated that ASIC will follow up with trustees where ASIC considered the disclosures to be insufficient or non-existent. He also noted that all trustees have an ongoing obligation to make transparency information publicly available and keep it up to date at all times. 

The findings of ASIC’s survey and further guidance on improving disclosure are contained in a detailed attachment to ASIC’s media release. 

 

ASIC seeks improved compliance by superannuation trustees 

ASIC has provided an overview of some compliance issues identified during its proactive surveillance of superannuation trustees that are also holders of an Australian financial services (AFS) licence. 

The notable concerns included: 

ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said, “ASIC reminds superannuation trustees that when developing and implementing strategies designed to gain and retain fund members, they should be mindful of the financial services laws and ensure that any communications to new or existing members is not misleading or deceptive.” 

ASIC’s media release also outlines a number of compliance issues in relation to responsible entities of managed investment schemes that were detected during the proactive surveillance. 

 

ASIC capability review 

In late June, the Assistant Treasurer announced that an expert panel had been appointed to conduct a capability review of ASIC and report to government by the end of the year. 

The process involves preliminary discussions with a range of stakeholders, the inclusion of targeted questions in an ASIC stakeholder survey and roundtable meetings to do ‘deep dives’ on key issues. 

In ASFA’s response to Financial System Inquiry (FSI) recommendation 28, we supported the proposal that the regulators undertake periodic capability reviews, but we considered that the reviews of ASIC and APRA should initially be conducted at three-year, rather than six-year intervals. ASFA also noted that we consider it important that capability reviews include clear action plans to address any identified deficiencies — for example, addressing identified gaps in skills or expertise through: 

(see pages 41-43) 

ASFA had a wide-ranging discussion with members of the review panel earlier last week and will also coordinate a response from ASFA members. 

The panel is particularly interested in hearing ASFA members’ views on: 

Other areas you may consider are: 

If you have any thoughts that you would like ASFA to consider, please provide your comments to James Bond by Tuesday, 22 September. 

 

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