Super fund governance bill unlikely to pass Senate

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Changes to the governance arrangements for large superannuation funds are unlikely to pass the Senate.

Labor, the Greens and several independents have stated that they will oppose the bill, the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Governance) Bill 2015, if it reaches a vote.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on the 20th of October and has been scheduled to be debated on several occasions over the last sitting weeks, but other bills have taken precedence.

The ALP and several independent senators announced, in a joint statement, that they would oppose the bill, saying it would “impose additional administrative costs and other burdens” on industry super funds.

“Cross-bench and opposition senators think this Bill goes too far. Senator John Madigan, Senator Glenn Lazarus, and Senator Jacqui Lambie have suggested an alternative to imposing these changes by legislation, and instead propose an industry review of not-for-profit fund governance,” said the statement.

“In addition, Senators have also recommended the review consider how industry funds can increase their investment in Australia, thereby supporting the local economy and the growth of jobs.”

“This is a sensible way forward which takes the politics out of the issue and instead focusses on the interest of members and letting the funds get on with delivering the best retirement for them.”

Later in the day AIST and Industry Super Australia announced they had commissioned a review by former RBA Governor and Treasury Secretary Bernie Fraser to develop a “best practice governance code of conduct for not-for-profit super funds by 30 April 2016”.

The Greens also oppose the super fund governance bill, with Greens Treasury spokesperson Adam Bandt saying: “The government is being driven by ideology, not evidence.”

“There has been no suggestion that there’s something wrong with the current governance arrangements with industry super funds. In fact, they’re delivering better returns than the retail funds.”

“The Senate crossbench has sensibly put the government’s plan on ice while they wait for more evidence.”

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