Independent panel should govern super


By Krystine Lumanta

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The industry must start having discussions about the possibility of forming an independent panel to assess any new policies affecting superannuation, rather than continuing to leave the responsibility with inexperienced politicians.

Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway said when it came to superannuation, there was a need for an overarching policy.

“One of the things occupying our mind is that the greatest risks to the superannuation system and retirement incomes in Australia is politicians because when they become involved we’re asking them to manage a system that, generally speaking, they don’t know enough about,” Conway told the SMSF Conference convened by ARC Super, NowInfinity and WPIAS Training in Queenstown, New Zealand, last Thursday.

“So the concern is they’re constantly making changes to the system without understanding the long-term impact.

“One of the things we’re considering, amidst these discussions that are part of the white paper, is whether it is time to remove superannuation policy changes from politicians and how would you do that.

“It’s one of those things to put out there to [determine] if it is time for some sort of independent panel to assess changes to superannuation policy prior to them being made.”

He said it could be argued Australia had a Productivity Commission, the Office of Best Practice Regulation, Treasury, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and ASIC to monitor superannuation policy.

“There are all these players involved, but what about the industry saying that’s not going to work?” he said.

“I think there’s an opportunity for us to have that discussion through the Financial System Inquiry process to say, what about taking it off the hands of the government?

“Throwing it out there for a bit of consideration, [it could be like the Australian government] Future Fund-style structure whereby you have a policy centre determining changes to superannuation.

“The risk to the financial future of Australians is too great for us to get that wrong.”

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