A rushed and inadequate consultation process has led the federal government to defer the start date for the new rules requiring superannuation funds to disclose investment holdings.
Finance minister and acting assistant treasurer Mathias Cormann announced yesterday that while the government remains “fully committed” to the choice product dashboard and portfolio holding disclosure regime, it has decided to defer the start date for the new rules for 12 months, citing lack of industry preparedness and poor consultation.
“It has become very clear that the changes to the product dashboard and product disclosure requirements were rushed in without adequate consultation in the dying days of the previous government,” Senator Cormann said.
“It has become very clear that large parts of the industry are not ready for implementation and that many issues remain unresolved. To proceed with the original timetable now would force too many industry participants into a state of non-compliance with legal requirements.”
Senator Cormann said the government was responding to “legitimate concerns” raised about the timeframe in place and the practicality of the superannuation industry being in a position to comply.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) welcomed the announcement, claiming the delay will result in a “better product dashboard for the community” and a more thorough development and consultation process.
“Given that the MySuper product dashboard is relatively new and has received a mixed response from the industry and the community, it is essential that the process of developing and testing the dashboard for choice products is not rushed,” said ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos.
AIST chief executive Tom Garcia similarly welcomed the move, describing the new timeline as giving the industry the chance to “get the policy settings right”.
The Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) also issued a response, clearly indicating the lobby group’s opposition to the portfolio holdings disclosure rules.
“The proposed new disclosure framework would not have delivered more meaningful information to superannuation fund members – instead, fund members would have been subjected to volumes of immaterial information that would only have served to confuse them,” said AVCAL chief executive Yasser El-Ansary.
“With any new disclosure framework, it’s critical that you strike the right balance between providing more information [and] providing too much information that turns people away from trying to engage in understanding what it all means,” he added.
The new start date for the regime will be 1 July 2015, with the minister pointing to additional consultation and “consumer testing” to come.
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