AUSTRALIA - The government has set up a five-person independent advisory committee to assist the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in developing a superannuation "choice of fund" education campaign.
Assistant treasurer and minister for revenue, Mal Brough (pictured), announced the move today ahead of the introduction of choice of fund next year.
“The committee draws on a wealth of market experience and each member has a solid understanding of the target groups which the education campaign will focus on,” Brough said.
“The campaign will be crucial in alerting those most affected by choice, that is, employers and employees, of their responsibilities and rights when choice commences on July 1, 2005.”
Members of the committee include Ridley Corporation director and chairman John Keniry, member of the small business council, Bruce Fadelli, Communi(k) managing director Linda Elkins, CSIRO business development director Mara Bun and Westscheme chief executive Howard Rosario.
ATO and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will oversee the education campaign, ensuring the products and messages are appropriately targeted, Brough said.
Meanwhile, ASIC has launched a surveillance campaign to assess how financial advisers are complying with new legal obligations relating to advice to switch financial products.
The requirements, which were part of the Financial Services Reform Act, aim to discourage “misselling and unnecessary churning”, ASIC said.
“Financial advisers will potentially play a crucial role in guiding choices of superannuation fund, in particular, where a change of fund is being recommended,” said Ian Johnston, ASIC executive director of financial services regulation.
“We want to test the level of compliance with the new switching obligations now, to determine if there is room for improvement in the lead up to the introduction of super choice.
“ASIC will use the findings of this campaign to inform the financial services industry about its expectations of advisers before the commencement of choice of fund legislation. We may also consider enforcement action, where warranted.”
Johnston said vigilance in monitoring compliance with advice obligations was particularly important in a choice of fund environment.
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