AUSTRALIA - The Australian Democrats released a five-point plan ahead of the superannuation debate held today at Australia's National Press Club, to ensure consumers pay low fees and charges for their superannuation.
Superannuation spokesperson Senator John Cherry said the plan aimed to reduce super fees and to improve their comparability.
Set out in the plan is a commitment to lobby the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to develop a star rating for super and investment products based on their level of fees. For example, a high fee product would brand one-star while an extremely low fee product a five-star.
Another pledge is to ensure that monitoring and reporting of super fees and charges is comprehensive. Monitoring will be the responsibility of regulatory watchdogs for the next five years, and is part of the government’s decision to provide employees with Choice of Fund, commencing July 1 2005.
According to a party release, the Democrats will push for the comprehensive benchmarking of fees and charges across the various superannuation products and investment choices and monitor the impact of Choice on the super industry.
“We do not rule out the banning of commissions on compulsory Superannuation Guarantee contributions if it is shown that the financial advisers are not acting in the best interests of their clients,” the statement said.
The fifth point is a promise to push for a government review of the administration and compliance costs incurred by superannuation funds with a critical approach to any perceived unnecessary burdens on the industry such as further excessive “safety” or prudential requirements.
“After some tough years, the superannuation industry is strongly on the rebound,” Cherry said.
“The Democrats are committed to ensuring Australia has the world’s best retirement savings system.”
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