New figures released by the Australian Tax Office have shown that increased discussions around Super have had an effect with Australians.
The new figures show that more than 66,000 people have found and consolidated over 105,000 accounts worth more than $860 million during the last quarter of 2018.
The Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said the figures were an encouraging result as it represented real savings and better outcomes.
“Tidying up seems to be a hot topic at the moment, so before you spend too much time re-organising your sock drawer and kitchen cupboards this summer, take a few minutes to tidy up your superannuation. Seeing the extra money in your consolidated superannuation will definitely spark joy,” Mr Whyte said.
His comments come as the super industry is once again under the spotlight with the government hoping to pass its stalled legislation aimed at driving out underperforming funds from the industry.
The government said it had to pass the legislation before it could push forward with the royal commission’s proposal to create a default super arrangement for new workers.
That was not the only recommendation directed towards the super industry with QMV’s principal consultant of legal and risk Jonathan Steffanoni saying there were a raft of changes to come.
“The Hayne royal commission’s superannuation related recommendations are first and foremost focused on promoting changes to the ways in which superannuation trustees deal with conflicts of interest and raising the standard of care which trustees adopt in managing members’ retirement savings.
“Hayne has also made sensible recommendations in relation to distribution activities, administration of duplicate accounts, and advice fees in promoting a simpler, principles-based approach to regulating the financial sector,” he said.
Mr Steffanoni said that Commissioner Hayne in his final report had called out dual regulated entities for baking in conflicts of interest and also had taken a different position to the productivity commission.
“Hayne has taken a differing position to the Productivity Commission in relation to the ability of for-profit superannuation trustees to be able to manage conflicts. While accepting that trustees of for-profit superannuation funds may be conflicted, they were not hopelessly so,” he said.
Arguably the most important change though was a shift towards principles-based regulation said Mr Steffanoni.
“In recommending that there is a greater focus in the fundamental norms over the often complex and confusing myriad of exceptions and qualifications which currently exist in the regulation of financial products and superannuation, Hayne seeks to address the problem that complexity poses to the development of more responsible and accountable organisational culture.
“In advocating for regulatory law based on a set of simple principles which are easily understood and applied by regulators, financial institutions, and consumers alike, the Hayne commission might open the door to replacing loopholes, mere compliance, process adherence and box checking with organisational culture founded in greater individual responsibility and accountability from junior employees right through to senior management,” he said.
With further changes to the super industry expected over the next year Mr Whyte said there was still a lot of money that still needed to be claimed in super and urged people to check with their funds.
“There is still over $17.5 billion in lost and unclaimed super. If you’re not sure whether to consolidate, check with your super fund who can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts,” he said.
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