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Industry funds attack new ATO 'choice' form

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has criticised a new version of the ATO's online superannuation "choice" form that does not pre-populate default funds.


Industry fund lobby group the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has cited concerns about consumer protections and disclosure in a submission criticising the ATO's new proposed online superannuation choice form.

AIST senior policy manager David Haynes said that the ATO’s proposed form “has a number of flaws” and shouldn’t be introduced until the industry is satisfied the form “will not disadvantage members”.

“If implemented under the proposed model, the form will remove important existing consumer protections and potentially display incomplete, out-of-date and misleading information to members,” My Haynes said.

Mr Haynes added that the proposed form includes less information than the paper forms currently in use, and notably doesn’t require employers to list their default fund on the form.

“We know that many super fund members do not actively choose their super fund,” he said.

“The name of the default fund is pre-populated on the existing paper-based choice form; removing this function is a step backward for disclosure.”

Mr Haynes said that the introduction of the new form should be decoupled from the implementation of the government’s Single Touch Payroll (a new reporting system for businesses with more than 20 employees, which comes into effect in July 2018).

Instead, Mr Haynes argued that more testing should be conducted on the forms and that they should not be brought into effect before July 2019.

A spokesperson for the ATO told InvestorDaily that it has undergone “extensive design and consultation” with the super industry over several months, and recently issued a consultation paper asking for submissions from industry bodies.

“The paper provided an opportunity for all interested parties to provide feedback on the design principles, whether the design supports the policy intent, and to raise any unintended consequences,” the spokesperson said.

“The 28-day consultation period has just concluded with a number of submissions provided by industry.”

These submissions—including one from the AIST—are currently under review, the spokesperson said, and the ATO is considering how these might impact the current design.

“We expect this process to conclude before the end of this month,” Mr Haynes said.

 

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