Little support for super governance changes, survey finds

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A survey has found there is little public support for changes to the governance of large superannuation funds, in a bill currently before the Parliament.

A survey commissioned by Industry Super Australia has found only 20% of Australians support making not-for-profit super funds more like retail funds. Industry Super Australia has repeatedly called for the governance changes bill to be dropped.

The survey asked, “how strongly do you agree or disagree with the following:”

The government should change the not-for-profit industry super funds to make them more like for-profit bank-owned super funds

In response, only 20% agreed either ‘strongly’, ‘moderately’, or ‘a little’, with 33% disagreeing. However 23% neither agreed nor disagreed and 23% were unsure.

The highest support for changes to super fund governance was among the 25-34 age bracket, at 33%. 25% of men support changes to governance, compared to 17% of women. 28% of Liberal voters support changes, compared to 20% of Labor voters and 9% of Greens voters.

“The radical Bill and “crash or crash through” approach is regrettable and at odds with community expectation,” said Industry Super Australia Chief Executive, David Whiteley.

The survey did not include a question asking if all super funds should be required to have at least one-third independent directors and an independent chair, a key part of the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Governance) Bill 2015.

54% agreed with the statement, “having union and employer representatives on boards helps to ensure that Industry Super funds are run with the best interests of contributing employees at heart.” 11% disagreed.

“This research demonstrates that many Australians feel it is important that the voice of members is represented around the board table of their super fund, via employers and unions who have direct knowledge or expertise of the workplaces and industries of contributing members” Mr Whiteley said.

The governance bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The Senate next sits on the 9th of November.

The survey was conducted by Essential Research and was based on a “nationally representative sample” with 1,000 responses.

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