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Superannuation comes before Senate Estimates
On Monday 26 October 2020, Treasury officials made an appearance before the Economics Legislation Committee (Senate Estimates). Appearing on behalf of the government were Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann and Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume.
Robert Jeremenko, Ben Dolman and Robb Preston from the Retirement Income Policy Division gave evidence to the committee on a range of issues relevant to the superannuation sector.
A number of themes were covered including:
Link to the full transcript here, superannuation related matters from page 79.
House Economics – Superannuation Hearings – 6 November
The Program for the Standing Committee on Economics – Superannuation Sector hearings for 6 November has been released.
Appearing before the committee are Australian Super, BT, IFM Investors, Suncorp and Mercer.
The hearings can be watched via webcast from 10.30am to 4.45pm
Further superannuation hearings will be held on 20 November but the program has not yet been released.
ASIC releases annual report
ASIC has released its annual report for 2019-20 providing an update on its regulatory and enforcement actions for the year.
The annual report provides an overview of policies and consultations on a range of recommendations from the Financial Services Royal Commission including updates to ASIC and APRA roles (including an updated MoU), anti-hawking measures and financial advice fees.
Additionally, ASIC issued reports on the industry implementation of the Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice and super fund member communications relating to the implementation of PYSP measures.
On the Voluntary Insurance Code, ASIC noted some improvements in practice being introduced as a result of adoption of the Code by a significant number of trustees, but said further work was needed to achieve the high industry standards that consumers expect.
Since releasing the report on the Insurance Code in December 2019, ASIC has participated in the industry consultations lead by AIST and other Code Owners on ways to improve the experiences of vulnerable members.
Regarding enforcement, ASIC reported: In 2019–20, there was:
ASIC stated that the Australian financial system faced significant challenges across the year as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic, and ASIC had focused on ensuring that the system, although under stress, continued to be fair, strong and efficient.
New APRA Data Transformation FAQs
APRA has published additional Frequently Asked Questions outlining queries on the latest release of topic papers for the Superannuation Data Transformation project (SDT).
As we reported in a Policy Alert this week, The FAQs are in relation to Phase 1 of the SDT covering expenses, asset allocation, insurance arrangements and fees and costs.
The updated FAQ page can be accessed here.
Early release update
The latest APRA figures for the early release scheme there were 25,000 applications to the COVID early release scheme for week ending 18 October.
This represents a slight drop on the previous week’s 26,000 applications.
Of the applications received by funds, 16,000 were initial and 9,000 were repeat applications. The total number of initial applications since inception of the scheme is around 3.3 million and repeat applications are 1.3 million.
So far, $34.4 billion in early release has been paid out by super funds since the scheme began. The average payment made over the period since inception is $7,401 overall and $8,354 when considering repeat applications only.
AIST’s weekly update on the status of legislation
The current status of superannuation Bills currently before Parliament can be found here.
30 October 2020