Portfolio Holdings Disclosure for super funds delayed for a fourth time

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Portfolio Holdings Disclosure for superannuation funds has now been delayed for a fourth time, until 31 December 2020.

The earliest point at which super funds will be required to disclose more about the assets they hold will be 8 years after the legislation passed, after ASIC further delayed the start date for super fund Portfolio Holdings Disclosure – unless action is taken or there is another delay.

Portfolio Holdings Disclosure is one of the Stronger Super reforms, the legislation for which passed in late 2012 – under Labor. It requires most super funds to publicly detail their holdings twice annually, once the details are set out in regulations.

ASIC has now delayed the start date for Portfolio Holdings Disclosure again, this time until 31 December 2020.

ASIC says this provides “legal certainty”, as the regulations setting out what needs to be disclosed haven’t been made. The delay will “allow further time for Government to develop and make the regulations”.

“It also provides industry with certainty about the commencement date and time to finalise their reporting processes and disclosures.”

ASIC has delayed the start date for Portfolio Holding Disclosure four times, the last delay until 31 December 2019. The new rules were originally to start on 1 July 2015. In 2015 ASIC said the delay was to “allow the Federal Government further time to consult on the detail of the requirements”.

If the new start date is met it will be eight years after the legislation passed and five and a half years after the original start date.

This is also the first delay since the Government made changes to the Portfolio Holdings Disclosure rules with the passage of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 in April 2019.

In a recent speech, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Jane Hume said the changes made the Portfolio Holdings Disclosure regime “workable”, and would provide access to information “while minimising the compliance burden on trustees”.

When the 2019 legislation passed the first date by which super funds would have been required to publish the information was in late March 2020 – 90 days after the reporting date. But with the delay this has been pushed back to late March 2021, depending on the making of the regulations.

ASIC said it “supports greater transparency about funds’ portfolio holdings and encourages superannuation trustees to focus on designing website disclosure about holdings that is accessible and clear for their members. ASIC notes that a number of funds have already taken steps to increase transparency about their portfolio holdings even in the absence of an explicit legislative obligation to do so”.

Jeremy Cooper, who Chaired the Super System Review which recommended Portfolio Holdings Disclosure in 2010, tweeted after the most recent announcement by ASIC:

This article has been updated since publication with information about the 2019 changes and speech by the Assistant Minster.

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