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Issue 569, 3 June 2015 

In this issue: 

 

QROPS changes 

The United Kingdom (UK) Government’s Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) department has recently written to all Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) providers in Australia asking them to ensure their schemes remain compliant with new rules, which were brought in on 6 April 2015. Specifically, the new rules do not allow members to access their benefits before age 55, unless they are retiring due to ill health, in line with UK pension rules. Australian schemes have until 17 June to acknowledge compliance with the extended requirements. 

This clearly causes concern for Australian QROPS providers that currently offer members limited access to benefits before 55 under certain circumstances apart from retiring due to ill health, including: 

Because of this, by using a strict interpretation of the changed requirements, it could be concluded that Australian QROPS funds are unable to meet the UK’s minimum age of 55 benefit release requirement. 

ASFA has taken on board member feedback about this issue and to deal with the situation, we have: 

ASFA members wishing to raise specific issues or with questions can contact Fiona Galbraith or Tony Keir. 

 

Section 29QC consistency requirements: deferred until 1 January 2016 

In ASFA Action issue 568, we reported that ASIC had advised ASFA of its intention to further defer the implementation date for section 29QC of the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act 1993. 

Section 29QC is intended to ensure that there is a level of consistency when information that a superannuation entity reports to APRA under a reporting standard and information is disclosed to other parties. Under class order relief, the requirement was currently due to take effect from 1 July 2015. 

ASIC has now advised ASFA that it expects to issue a legislative instrument within the next week, deferring section 29QC until 1 January 2016. The legislative instrument will be available on the ASIC website once it has been registered. 

 

Release authorities: amending regulations 

On 1 June 2015, the Government registered the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Release Conditions for Non-concessional Contributions) Regulation 2015 (the Regulation), which amends a number of areas of the superannuation regulatory regime. In particular, the regulation: 

The Regulation also corrects some minor errors in relation to the commutation of income streams, that were inadvertently introduced by amendments made in 2013. Each of the amendments has effect from 2 June 2015, except those relating to temporary residents, which apply retrospectively from 17 December 2013. 

 

ATO announces changeover to MCS Electronic Reporting Specification version 10.1.0 

The ATO is implementing changes to the member contribution statement (MCS) lodgement for the new financial year. Outlined below is the ATO’s timeline regarding the cessation of version 10.0.0 of the MCS Electronic Reporting Specification (ERS) and the commencement of ERS version 10.1.0. 

The ATO has advised that the Business Portal file transfer function will be unavailable during the period in which the ATO is implementing the change. 

Changes to MCS validation rules in the Business Portal, which support the MCS version 10.1.0 requirements, include: 

For more information, refer to the specifications for version 10.1.0 on the ATO’s software developers website. 

Funds should also check the System Maintenance and Issues page on the ATO website for the latest information on the timing of scheduled outages. 

Any enquiries or feedback should be directed to SuperCRT@ato.gov.au. 

 

Publication and confidentiality of data: APRA consultation 

APRA has recently commenced consultation on further proposed changes to its annual superannuation statistical publications and confidentiality of superannuation data. The proposals reflect recent changes to the superannuation reporting framework and follow APRA’s analysis of the first revised annual collection that was submitted in October 2014. 

On 28 May 2015, APRA released a discussion paper outlining proposed changes to the content and format of the data that APRA publishes annually. APRA proposes to continue to publish industry-level and fund level annual superannuation statistics, and to introduce a new annual MySuper product-level report. The discussion paper, and samples of the proposed publications, are available on the APRA website here. 

APRA is also seeking industry feedback on its proposal to determine as non-confidential (and therefore able to be published) a small number of data items. 

APRA has consulted on confidentiality of data previously, in 2013/14. On 20 May 2015, APRA wrote to all registrable superannuation entity (RSE) licensees, setting out those data items that it has determined to be non-confidential, and therefore able to be published, as a result of that consultation process (see ASFA Action issue 567). APRA’s letter also sets out those data items which will continue to be considered confidential, and therefore not able to be published. 

In its 20 May 2015 letter, APRA also indicated that it would undertake further consultation regarding the publication of a small number of additional data items. These items are set out in chapter 4 of the discussion paper released on 28 May. In particular, this data includes: 

Comments on the discussion paper can be made to APRA directly by 9 July 2015. 

 

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