Lessons and a warning for super fund directors and senior executives

On 1 May, the Federal Treasurer issued a severe warning for directors and senior executives of financial institutions.  He said that APRA’s Report into breaches by the Commonwealth Bank is “required reading” for all financial institutions – not just bank boards and they need to: “read it very closely and ask themselves the hard questions…

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Same-sex Marriage and Superannuation

Same-sex marriage and Superannuation Superannuation fund trustees need to be alert to the impact the same-sex marriage laws have in superannuation.  The new law changed the definition of “spouse”, which has a flow-on effect to definitions in the SIS Act of “spouse”, “dependant” and “relative”. Death benefits Some think the new laws aren’t relevant for…

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Mercer v Billinghurst: Some lessons for trustees

Last week, the Full Court of the Federal Court handed down judgement in Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited v Billinghurst.[1]  Greenfields acted for Mr Billinghurst.  This was the third decision against the trustee (following the determination of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal[2] (SCT) and the judgment of Moshinsky J in first instance[3]). Mr Billinghurst was a retired…

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ASIC Reports Findings from 2 Projects

ASIC has released a report (Report 529) of its findings from 2 projects examining experiences of superannuation members and the effectiveness of superannuation disclosures. ASIC’s findings and expectations have significant ramifications for the industry, whether or not you agree with them. The report contains some interesting conclusions relating to insurance disclosures and claims including: It…

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Fees and Costs Headache Continues

In our last blog on the fees and costs saga, we held the hope that more clarity would follow in relation to ASIC’s announcement of the deferral of the end of the transition period to implement updated fees and costs disclosure requirements in product disclosure statements (from 1 February 2017 to 30 September 2017). While…

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Interim Report: Financial System External Dispute Resolution Framework

The Interim Report on the Review of the financial system external dispute resolution framework was released yesterday (6 December). The Report includes 11 draft recommendations: A financial, credit and investment disputes Ombudsman There should be a single industry ombudsman scheme for financial, credit and investment disputes (other than superannuation disputes) to replace FOS and CIO.…

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Fees and Costs Deadline Deferred

ASIC has today issued a media release regarding the deferral of the deadline for implementing ASIC’s fees and costs disclosure requirements in product disclosure statements from 1 February 2017 to 1 October 2017. ASIC will be formalising this announcement by releasing an amended ASIC Class Order 14/1252 shortly. The terms of the amended instrument will…

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ASIC releases digital advice guidance

Today, ASIC released its guidance on ‘digital’ (or ‘robo’ or ‘automated’) advice in Regulatory Guide 255: Providing digital financial product advice to retail clients (RG 255). RG 255 does not differ greatly from the draft regulatory guide issued by ASIC in March 2016, with its Consultation Paper 254. RG 255 includes the following measures and…

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The impact of the CommInsure debacle on Trustees

It is doubtful that anyone in Australia has failed to hear about the fiasco faced by CommInsure.  The repercussions have extended to the Commonwealth Bank and other insurance companies.   It has also impacted superannuation fund trustees, particularly those whose external insurer is CommInsure. The fallout for superannuation funds is not only on the reputation of…

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