Super funds should have AGMs, says Nick Xenophon

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Nick Xenophon, super fund annual general meeting (AGM)Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has announced that he will try to amend the Superannuation Act to require super funds to have Annual General Meetings (AGMs).

Super funds have no requirement to hold AGMs or conduct a similar forum for fund members to question the board. “In stark contrast to the rights of even minor shareholders in a public company,” said Senator Xenophon.

“If I have $500 of Qantas shares I can go to the AGM and grill the board about the company’s performance. If I had $500,000 of my life savings in a super fund, there currently isn’t the same right. It really is a glaring gap in accountability that affects millions of Australians,” he said.

Senator Xenophon announced he will submit to the Senate a Superannuation Act amendment which would require superannuation funds to hold “a ‘no frills’ AGM that will allow members to question directors about the fund’s performance, and move non-binding resolutions from the floor of the meeting.”

Apparently the cost to the fund of notifying super fund members of the meeting would be “kept to a minimum as it would be done electronically.” Though there would still be the cost of the meeting.

“With $1.8 trillion invested in super funds, nine million Australians deserve to have this right.”

However the proposal may not even get to Parliament, let alone become law. In July this year Senator Xenophon announced that he would submit a bill to Parliament amending the Superannuation Act to allow first home buyers to access their superannuation, but this has yet to occur.

Announcing the AGM for super funds Xenophon also “welcomed” a number of the recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry, including the requirement that public offer superannuation funds to have a majority of independent directors and an independent chair.

Senator Xenophon also recently announced that he would be forming a political party, called the Nick Xenophon Team, or NXT.

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