Allens

Superannuation

Our experienced Superannuation legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues affecting superannuation. If you'd like to be notified when we add new superannuation publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Read about Allens' track record in this dynamic area.

Superannuation Publications

  • Unravelled: Trustees, start your reviewing! Super funds and the 'Member Outcomes Act': what needs doing, and when

    17 April 2019

    The Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 was first introduced in the Senate in September 2017. One and a half years later, and with significant amendments, the Bill is now an Act, having passed both houses of Parliament and receiving Royal Assent on the same day, 5 April 2019.

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  • Unravelled: AFCA: The first six months - and the year ahead

    17 April 2019

    The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), the new 'one-stop-shop' for resolving financial complaints, has had a very busy first six months of operation.

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  • Unravelled: Considering Robo-advice

    17 April 2019

    The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), the new 'one-stop-shop' for resolving financial complaints, has had a very busy first six months of operation.

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  • Unravelled: Superannuation - 'not a product to be sold'?

    18 March 2019

    In his typically blunt way, Commissioner Hayne declared: 'Superannuation is not a product to be sold'. As Mr Hodge QC was fond of saying, I would like to 'tease that out' a little.

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  • Unravelled: ASIC consultation on fees and costs disclosure reform following expert review

    18 March 2019

    It's been a long five years or so of amendments to, and consultation on, the fees and costs disclosure regime for superannuation and managed investments products. And industry might be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu, with the release earlier this year of ASIC's consultation paper on the regime.

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  • Client Update: Protecting Your Superannuation Package - what you need to do, and when

    7 March 2019

    Recently passed legislation, part of a package of reforms designed to 'protect Australians' superannuation savings from undue erosion by fees and insurance premiums', introduces a series of important changes that will create challenging implementation timeframes for funds and administrators in the coming months. Partner Geoff Sanders and Lawyer Zoe Chapman report on the effects of the amendments, and what they mean for trustees of superannuation funds.

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  • Client Update: Expanded ban on employer incentives for super - amendment passed in the Senate

    15 February 2019

    The Senate has passed amendments that will greatly expand the scope of the prohibition on trustees and their associates providing incentives to employers in section 68A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth). It will also make the section a civil penalty provision. The amendments will need to be passed by the House of Representatives to become law, but this appears to be imminent, and the expanded prohibition will apply from the day after the Royal Assent - meaning it could begin to apply as early as sometime next week. Trustees and their associates should urgently review how they currently interact with employer-sponsors and prospective employer-sponsors.

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  • Unravelled: Productivity Commission's report on superannuation - an odd mix of recommendations

    1 February 2019

    Before we are crushed by a heavy tome on Monday afternoon, I would like to say something about the recommendations in another heavy tome - the Productivity Commission's report on superannuation. The recommendations are an odd mix.

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  • Unravelled: The future age of AI

    1 February 2019

    We will be able to cease speculation on what is in or not in the Final Report of the Financial Services Royal Commission on Monday evening (or after whatever time it takes to read and digest!).

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  • Unravelled: Comments invited on proposed retirement income product disclosure

    20 December 2018

    Treasury has released a consultation paper on a new proposed simple, standardised product disclosure document, as part of the Federal Government's framework for Comprehensive Income Products for Retirement. The proposed new disclosure document will sit alongside existing PDS requirements.

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  • Unravelled: Changes to the FSC Life Insurance Code of Practice

    20 December 2018

    Proposed changes to the FSC Life Insurance Code are afoot and the deadline for comments is fast approaching. The present review of the Code is designed to improve standards in product design, sales, underwriting, customer service, complaints and claim handling

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  • Client Update: ASIC extends transition period for fees and costs disclosures, and delays consultation paper to January 2019

    14 December 2018

    ASIC has extended the transition periods for certain fees and costs disclosure obligations applicable to superannuation funds and managed investment schemes by a further year, pending the release of its consultation paper on the regime. It has also delayed the expected release date for the consultation paper until January 2019. Senior Associate Stephanie Malon and Lawyer Katerina Dandanis report.

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  • Unravelled: AFCA's powers and obligations - 'systemic issues'

    13 November 2018

    In his Interim Report, Commissioner Hayne rejected claims that misconduct in the financial services sector was the fault of 'a few bad apples' and did not raise 'broader or systemic concerns'. Commissioner Hayne's comments made me think about AFCA and what it can do (and must do) about 'systemic issues' identified in the course of handling complaints.

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  • Unravelled: Slater & Gordon begins its superannuation class actions

    11 October 2018

    In our article on competing class actions dated 20 August 2018, we made the fairly obvious observation that the Royal Commission would inevitably prove to be a hot bed for class actions. And in years to come, we will undoubtedly look back on the Royal Commission as a watershed moment in class action history, which, just like the GFC, spawned multiple large and long-running class actions.

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  • Unravelled: Efficiently, honestly and fairly - overarching and fundamental obligations?

    11 October 2018

    In his recent Interim Report into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Commissioner Hayne makes a lot of the duties of an Australian financial services licensee and an Australian credit licensee to provide financial services or credit activities, as the case may be, efficiently, honestly and fairly.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission: Round 2 - experiences with financial advice

    2 October 2018

    Although the Commissioner says that the Royal Commission is part of the executive and not the judiciary and that he is therefore not able to make any findings of law, he comes pretty close in his views in response to Round 2. And in some important respects, those views do not correspond with conventional views.

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  • Unravelled: Close and continuous monitoring - the new ASIC approach of embedding its officers in banks

    19 September 2018

    ASIC has recently announced a new supervisory approach that involves embedding ASIC officers in the four major banks and AMP. The initial media reporting on this approach suggested that it would involve embedding 'teams of up to 20 agents for weeks at a time to sit with bank staff, drop into meetings and trail the CEO, executives and directors to identify misconduct before it arises.'

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  • Unravelled: Competing class actions - a problem in need of a solution

    20 August 2018

    As fertile ground for class actions, the Royal Commission has highlighted an ongoing problem with Australia's class action regime - there is no clear, consistent means for resolving competing class actions.

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  • Unravelled: Update on the Royal Commission

    19 July 2018

    Have you been wondering what the Royal Commission will make of the numerous witness statements and vast amounts of other information collected from superannuation trustees in recent times? You will find out soon enough. But first, there are some curiosities from the Round Four hearings to consider - including a hint as to what the superannuation hearings will include.

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  • Unravelled: Australian Financial Complaints Authority: a 'one-stop-shop' for financial dispute resolution

    19 July 2018

    The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority is to replace each of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman in November 2018.

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  • Unravelled: What might the PC review into superannuation mean for fund investments?

    22 June 2018

    The Productivity Commission Draft Report into the Efficiency and Competitiveness of Australia's superannuation system, weighing in at a substantial 549 pages, contains a treasure trove of information on, and analysis of, a wide range of aspects of the industry.

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  • Unravelled: Update on the Royal Commission

    22 June 2018

    A lot has happened since our most recent update. The Royal Commission has published the submissions received from ASIC and industry participants on policy questions posed by Counsel Assisting at the end of the financial advice hearings. And the small business lending hearings have been held.

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  • Unravelled: 2018-19 Federal Budget - superannuation

    15 May 2018

    The 2018-19 Federal Budget has introduced a number of proposed superannuation-related changes, with a focus on protecting small balances, young members and existing retirees.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission update

    15 May 2018

    The hearings in the Financial Services Royal Commission have been compulsory viewing, not only for financial services industry participants and their regulators and professional service providers. The hearings have exposed wide-ranging actual or alleged wrongful conduct that has captured the attention of politicians, media and the general public.

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  • Focus: ASIC's sanctions and powers to be strengthened

    23 April 2018

    The Federal Government has announced that it proposes to strengthen ASIC's powers, and to increase the severity of penalties (civil and criminal) that can be imposed on individuals and corporations, in line with the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce's recommendations. Partner Rachel Nicolson and Senior Overseas Practitioner Chris Kerrigan report.

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  • Unravelled: The Royal Commission heats up

    9 April 2018

    The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry is well underway, with its first round of public hearings wrapping up less than a month ago. By reference to a number of case studies, the first round of hearings focused on consumer lending practices. In this article, we report on the key themes identified by the Commission as arising from the hearings.

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  • Unravelled: Personal advice and the best interests duty

    21 March 2018

    There has been a great deal of attention given to the meanings of 'financial product advice' and 'personal advice' in the Corporations Act and many of us are eagerly waiting to see what Justice Gleeson will say about the topic in the case ASIC has brought against the BT trustees. However, whatever Her Honour decides in that case, it is unlikely to help very much, because the line between general advice and personal advice will always turn on the facts and, where the facts change with each interaction with a customer or client, it will continue to be difficult for licensees to be confident that they and their representatives are not giving personal advice. While that is a pity, it is, in my view, a greater pity that more licensees are not prepared to take the plunge and give personal advice. If licensees assumed that their interactions with customers and clients about financial products was personal advice, the difference between general advice and personal advice would not matter much.

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  • Unravelled: Superannuation reform - the year ahead in 2018

    20 February 2018

    2017 was a busy year in superannuation. The Allens superannuation team takes stock of the legislative and regulatory reform proposals that have been mooted for 2018 and gazes into the crystal ball to see what might lie ahead this year.

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  • Unravelled: A Commission of Inquiry - of the Royal, not the Parliamentary, kind

    19 December 2017

    Since the announcement of the Royal Commission into, ahem, financial services, much has been written and said - a lot of which suggests that little attention is being paid to the terms of reference. In this article I take a look at those terms.

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  • Client Update: Strengthening member outcomes in superannuation - APRA's proposals

    15 December 2017

    APRA this week released a discussion paper and draft prudential standards and practice guides. The standards and guides will apply to all RSE licensees from 1 January 2019. As Partner Michelle Levy and Senior Regulatory Counsel Michael Mathieson report, they will lead to significant changes across the superannuation industry.

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  • Unravelled: APRA's new powers in superannuation - A worthy idea, but checks and balances required

    12 September 2017

    APRA is in line to get significantly increased powers of direction in respect of RSE licensees and their 'controlled entities' as part of the package of superannuation reforms announced in the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation) Bill 2017.

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  • Unravelled: Extraordinary new power proposed for APRA

    12 September 2017

    The exposure draft of the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Crisis Resolution Powers and Other Measures) Bill 2017, will, if passed, give new powers to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to the authorised non-operating holding company and other related bodies corporate of APRA-regulated entities (including foreign regulated entities).

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  • Unravelled: Productivity Commission on super system competitiveness and efficiency

    7 August 2017

    With all the media attention on the Government's surprise announcement of its proposed package on improving accountability and member outcomes in super last week, you would be forgiven if the Productivity Commission's latest issues paper on competitiveness and efficiency in the super system had slipped under your radar.

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  • Unravelled: Approved product lists and FoFA adviser duties

    7 August 2017

    The FoFA duties that apply to personal advice given to retail clients have been operating for over four years now. ASIC has enjoyed some recent success in the courts in cases brought on the basis of those duties. In this context, it is worth revisiting approved product lists and whether they assist, or impair, compliance with the FoFA duties.

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  • Unravelled: Australian Government proposes new foreign bribery offences

    7 August 2017

    Australia's lack of enforcement of foreign bribery legislation has attracted increasing criticism in recent years, but the Federal Government is expected to soon table legislation proposing wide-ranging reforms. We look at two key proposed changes for Australian companies.

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  • Client Update: Improving accountability and member outcomes in superannuation?

    25 July 2017

    The Federal Government's proposed new superannuation legislation imposes significant new obligations on RSE licensees and could have a material effect on shareholders. The Allens Superannuation team reports on the key changes.

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  • Client Update: Grizzly times ahead for banks

    14 July 2017

    A consultation paper on the BEAR has been released, confirming the Federal Government's intention to impose an executive accountability regime on banks and their subsidiaries that follows important elements of current international accountability regimes. You have three weeks to provide your comments to the Government. Partner Michelle Levy, Senior Associate Sarah Burgemeister and Associate Katie Gardiner report.

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  • Unravelled: UK's ASIC's report on member experience of superannuation - ASIC continues to set a high bar

    6 July 2017

    ASIC Report 529: Member experience of superannuation, released just a day before the Productivity Commission officially sets its sights on assessing the state of the superannuation system, serves as a timely reminder of the ever-increasing expectations of the conduct and disclosure practices of superannuation trustees.

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  • Unravelled: Banks set to grin and BEAR new measures to improve individual accountability

    7 June 2017

    As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the domestic banking sector's accountability, the Federal Government recently announced a series of measures to join the ongoing global push seeking to improve measures for individual accountability for misconduct. The proposed Banking Executives Accountability Regime (BEAR) seeks to ensure that banks, and their senior management, are held accountable when they fail to meet expectations. Senior Associate Sarah Burgemeister reports.

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  • Unravelled: CIPRs - some interesting findings

    5 May 2017

    We recently hosted some workshops in Sydney and Melbourne to discuss the proposed CIPR framework. The outcomes of those workshops were interesting - in some respects surprising - and this article provides a brief report.

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  • Unravelled: Recent decision on FoFA advice provisions - ASIC v NSG

    5 May 2017

    The recent case of ASIC v NSG Services Pty Ltd considers the FoFA best interests and appropriate advice provisions, as well as obligations of licensees. While the facts of the case provide an extreme example of how advisers and licensees can fail to comply with these duties, it also provides some useful judicial commentary on the provisions.

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  • Unravelled: Reporting significant breaches - or something that may (or may not) be a breach?

    5 May 2017

    The Taskforce established by Treasury to consider ASIC's enforcement powers released its first consultation paper a few weeks ago on breach reporting. We examine the most significant of the Taskforce's 12 'preliminary positions'.

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  • Unravelled: A step closer to industry funding of ASIC

    7 April 2017

    Last week, the Federal Government moved another step closer to implementing an industry funding model for the recovery of ASIC's costs, by introducing the ASIC Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2017 (as well as two related Bills) into Parliament. These Bills implement the recommendations of the Financial Services Inquiry and the Senate Economics Committee that ASIC be industry funded, and follows a number of rounds of industry consultation on exposure drafts and proposal papers.

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  • Client Update: Productivity Commission's proposed alternate default models for superannuation

    30 March 2017

    In the latest (and undoubtedly most significant) of its reports into the design of default superannuation arrangements in Australia, the Productivity Commission yesterday released its Draft Report in relation to Superannuation: Alternative Default Models. Partner Geoff Sanders of the Allens Superannuation team reports on how the Draft Report moves the Commission's thinking forward in relation to how default contributions might be allocated to superannuation products in the years to come.

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  • Client Update: Innovative Superannuation Income Streams - at last

    21 March 2017

    Earlier today, Treasury released exposure draft regulations for 'Innovative Superannuation Income Streams'. They set out income stream standards that will be relevant for products such as deferred annuities and group self-annuitised products. The Allens Superannuation team reports.

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  • Unravelled: Clearing the way for social impact investing

    10 March 2017

    The Commonwealth Treasury is seeking feedback on how to kickstart social impact investment in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: Consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector

    10 March 2017

    The Senate Economics References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the regulatory framework for the protection of consumers in the banking, insurance and financial services sector.

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  • Unravelled: Mandatory margining

    7 February 2017

    Late last year, APRA released the implementation schedule for its long-awaited Prudential Standard CPS 226 Margining and risk mitigation for non-centrally cleared derivatives.

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  • Client Update: A framework for CIPRs or just more work for super trustees?

    16 December 2016

    Yesterday, Treasury released a paper seeking feedback on a framework for Comprehensive Income Products for Retirement (CIPRs). It will permit trustees to offer members on a 'soft default' basis 'mass-customised, composite retirement income products' and, to encourage trustees to do what some might think they can already do, trustees will have no liability to a member who sues them because the CIPR was not in the best interests of the member. It is all most surprising, and for trustees it is a whole new kettle of fish. CIPRs are meant to be available from 1 July 2018, but there is a long way between the cup and the sip as they say and we suspect much of it won't make it into law. The Allens superannuation team reports.

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  • Client Update: Product design and distribution rules

    13 December 2016

    On 13 December 2016, Treasury released a paper seeking feedback on the proposed financial product design and distribution obligations, and proposed product intervention powers for ASIC. The proposals are intended to 'create new accountability obligations' for product issuers and distributors. On one view, it is a brave new world, on another, it is just more of the same. Which it turns out to be, we think, will depend on what product issuers make of it and what ASIC does with it. Industry has until March 2017 to make submissions on the detail, it is unlikely that more substantial objections to the policies will be successful. The Financial Services Regulation team report.

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