Labor MP Stephen Jones has warned that the Your Future, Your Super reforms will be ineffective if the government does not address a number of key failings.
While Mr Jones said that dud funds would find no “safe harbour” were Labor to win government, he warned that the customer charge benchmarks included in the Your Future, Your Super reforms only measure investment fees while excluding administration fees – a “glaring anomaly” that could see the system go backwards.
“This is a massive design fault which runs the risk of enabling funds to divert costs and charges from one line item to another without addressing the underlying problem of high fees,” Mr Jones told the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
“In other words, members can and most likely will still lose out from oversized fees.”
Mr Jones also believes that the government’s proposed performance benchmarks will discourage funds from investing in infrastructure for Australia’s economic recovery and turn them back to the ASX 200 and other passive investments.
“They encourage short-term returns and a ‘hug-the-index’ investment approach, rather than a long-term, multi-decade view,” Mr Jones said.
“This is crazy at a time when our tradies need work, our nation needs rebuilding and the next generation of retirees need dependable returns.”
Mr Jones called the government out for dragging its feet on instituting anti-hawking provisions for superannuation despite the recommendations of the royal commission and warned that the Your Future, Your Super reforms will create “a perfect ecosystem” for deception and exploitation. The government also copped a spray for its attempt to “backslide” on the legislated increase to the superannuation guarantee and its ongoing war of words with the industry funds.
“These attacks have yielded nothing of substance, and I hope that this budget serves as a circuit breaker in that phony war,” Mr Jones said.
The Your Future, Your Super reforms, unveiled in last week’s budget, will compel underperforming funds to inform their members and bar them from taking on new members if they don’t lift their game. Funds will also be required to provide greater transparency around how they spend members’ money.