AUSTRALIA - The governance benchmark for superannuation trustees should be higher than that of listed companies, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia believes.
The association made the recommendation following the launch of its updated Governance Best Practice Paper, which provides a guide for funds on how to run their trustee office.
ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said the Best Practice Paper sets out a number of practices that trustees should consider, including: tenure and succession planning for the trustee board; code of conduct; conflicts and board assessment; delegation monitoring and reporting; engagement of external service providers and accountability to members.
"In ASFA's view, the benchmark for trustees is higher due to their fiduciary obligations," Vamos said. "What is best practice in governance is constantly changing. Stakeholder expectation, as well as the environment in which funds operate, constantly changes. Competition between funds is fierce and the membership is becoming more diverse in its needs.
"The industry itself is addressing calls for increased efficiency, transparency and accountability, forcing many fund trustees to address their finance and operations model. This leads to changes in the behaviour of funds and heralds a new era in governance.
"We believe adherence to these practices would meet the majority of governance objectives set out on the Cooper panel report."
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