The chief executive of the $53 billion industry fund said that critics should stop trying to undermine the super system and instead take pride in what it’s achieved.
Cbus CEO Justin Arter took a swipe at the superannuation system’s homegrown critics, which have included a number of Liberal MPs and business figures, saying the “strength of the system should be a source of pride”.
“It’s surprising that a sector that’s so admired around the world isn’t seen the same way here in Australia, as evidenced by the long queue of system critics and numerous changes to the settings that undermine the purpose of super,” Mr Arter told media.
“Yes, there are some improvements needed to address underperformance and duplication, and to shift gears from a savings system to a retirement income system. But we must safeguard against unintended consequences that impact investment approaches or undermine member outcomes and the capacity of funds to make long-term capital allocations.”
While Mr Arter said that Cbus was “strongly supportive” of the Your Future, Your Super reforms and welcomed the move to rid the sector of underperforming funds, he cautioned the government against going too far.
“We’d add our voice to the many who have raised concerns about some of the unintended consequences in the proposed policy settings, because it could make it harder for funds like us to be active and direct providers of capital into the economy,” Mr Arter said.
But senator Jane Hume recently took aim at that line of thinking, warning that funds would have to prove that investments in Australia’s economic recovery would actually benefit members.
“I am not saying that direct investments in airports, social housing or energy generation are inappropriate – far from it. We also know that there is an illiquidity premium that comes with large scale direct infrastructure investment which can add great value to a portfolio,” Ms Hume told the Australian Shareholders’ Association.
“But to invest in these things for any reason other than the best financial interests of members – even if it’s to improve the economy or create jobs – is a breach of obligations to members who have entrusted trustees to have one overarching objective: their best financial interests.”