ASIC to ramp up trustee visits

Superannuation funds should get accustomed to leaving the front door open for ASIC as the regulator flagged it will pay trustees more periodic visits.

Presenting a regulatory update at the AIST Super Investment Conference? in Cairns yesterday, ASIC senior executive leader of investment managers and superannuation Jane Eccleston highlighted some major initiatives superannuation trustees should brace for.

Eccleston warned superannuation funds to expect more "frequent onsite visits" from the regulator. It will also initiate public actions that include more enforcement outcomes.

ASIC will also make greater use of data at its disposal and seek more data sources, she added.

It will also ramp up efforts in consumer testing and shadow shopping, particularly as the new Superannuation Consumers' Centre gets up and running.

While it's easy to get caught up in the fact that the Royal Commission focused more on retail super funds, Eccleston reminded all trustees that it's not about whose behaviour is better than the other.

It's about: "Am I doing the best for members?" she said.

Consumers have no choice but to entrust money to trustees, so the weight of expectations are high, Eccleston added.

Hence the power of super trustees in shaping the reputation and contributing to the stability of the financial market cannot be underestimated, she warned.

Since November 2017, Eccleston has been leading ASIC's superannuation work and has focused "significantly" on strengthening her team.

With respect to the RG97 review published in July, Eccleston said ASIC is still mulling over the report.

While Eccleston kept mum about the regulator's initial impressions, she did hint that practical changes will be implemented to ultimately provide transparency and usable information for consumers.

Over the last six months, ASIC has engaged with several super trustees on fee disclosures that were "misleading" and had to be rectified.

Eccleston said ASIC will continue to monitor this area while a formal response is formulated before Christmas.

As part of a new initiative, ASIC has launched its Corporate Governance Taskforce that will conduct targeted reviews of large listed companies, aiming to identify good and bad practices.

It will look at director and officer oversight particularly in relation to non-financial risk, and executive remuneration practices determined by board decisions, she said.

Read more: ASICJane EcclestonAISTRoyal Commission
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