AUSTRALIA - As of 1 July, around 5.2m Australian employees will have a right to choose the superannuation fund to which their compulsory superannuation savings will be paid.
Employers must give a Standard Choice Form to their employees who are eligible for choice of fund, by 28 July. However, Michaela Anderson, ASFA's policy and research director has pointed out, there's no deadline for consumers.
Many people probably need to get to know their current fund first, before looking at what else is available to them. They could be pleasantly surprised to find they already have a good deal with their current super fund, said Anderson.
Research commissioned by ASFA late last year indicated that only around one in 10 people would be likely to change superannuation funds when choice of fund is introduced. Anderson said there were no indications that this figure had changed significantly.
Most people will be eligible for choice of fund, unless they are employed in the public sector or in some cases under state awards or commonwealth agreements.
Anderson also pointed out that the changes in procedure and paper work associated with choice of fund will mean increased workload for employers.
Initiatives have been developed by the superannuation and investment industry to ease the burden, such as the swimEC programme.
This will enable participating employers to electronically transfer super contributions and the necessary personal information to the participating superannuation funds.
The Co-operative Group's Somerfield Pension Scheme has completed a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), insuring the benefits of its pensioner members.
Caroline Rookes CBE and Michele Hirons-Wood have joined The Pension Superfund's board of trustees to focus on maintaining governance standards and safeguarding member benefits.
The first specialist independent firm advising pension schemes on bulk annuities or moving to a consolidator has been set up with ambitions to shake up the market.