Likely changes to superannuation in 2017

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2016 was a big year for superannuation changes, probably the largest since the 2007 ‘simpler super’ reforms. However this doesn’t mean that 2017 will be devoid of changes to superannuation.

A likely early issue will be setting an objective for superannuation in legislation, which was a recommendation of the Financial System inquiry. Though the recommendation was to seek broad political support for the objective, something which has not occurred, with the Labor party and superannuation industry taking issue with the proposed objective.

Several of the Government’s proposed Bills changing superannuation lapsed when Parliament was prorogued ahead of the Federal Election and weren’t re-introduced. These are likely to reappear in 2017, including expanding choice of super fund to more employees.

Super fund governance will also return as an issue in 2017, with the Government announcing it intends to re-introduce legislation which would change the governance arrangements for large super funds – including requiring at least one-third independent directors and an independent chair. But the changes are controversial, with the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Governance) Bill 2015 was last debated in November 2015 before lapsing when the Parliament was prorogued – necessitating the reintroduction.

Changes to reporting by large super funds, changes to the Choice Product Dashboards and Portfolio Holding Disclosure, may also be re-introduced.

The Government will also move ahead with another recommendation of the Financial System Inquiry – the introduction of Comprehensive Income Product for Retirement (CIPR) / MyRetirement products. Consultations on a discussion paper close in April 2017.

Legislation is also still before the Parliament to give the ATO Commissioner the power to modify the operation of tax and superannuation laws, in the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 2) Bill 2016.

Of course, there may also be further changes to superannuation in the 2017 Budget.

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