• Lost members register – protocol

    This protocol document provides guidance to superannuation (super) providers in meeting their obligations under the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA) in relation to lost members and the associated reporting obligations.

    This document:

    • provides technical guidance only and does not replace the law
    • includes an explanation of various key terms contained in the law
    • gives guidelines on practical administration and ATO perspective of industry best practice
    • aims to encourage consistent practices and application of the lost super legislation across the super industry.

    This document does not have the force of law and is not binding. It has been developed in collaboration with industry representatives to support compliance across the industry in meeting their obligations in relation to the lost members register (LMR).

    When acting on the guidance provided in this document, take into account your member's individual circumstances and decide whether your action is appropriate. In line with your obligations under s52(2) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, exercise your powers in the best interests of your members.

    Note: references in this document to 'unclaimed superannuation money' include payments of lost member accounts to the ATO.

    Guiding principles for industry best practice

    These guiding principles include:

    • the best interests of the member should be of primary concern, when applying the law and the guidelines within this document
    • lost member tests should be applied at the member level, not the account level
    • if a member is proven to know about their account and demonstrates this by an indication of engagement, the intent of the legislation is that they are not a lost member
    • indications of engagement might include  
      • the member makes a decision/ undertakes an action relating to their account (for example, they defer a benefit, change their investment allocation or change their insurance)
      • the member calls their fund to check in (that is, no account activity is undertaken)
      • the member logs on to an online service provided by the fund, and views their account
      • the member proactively opts out of a service provided by the fund, where their account membership is referenced
      • the member contacts their fund (for example, via phone, mail, email) to ask a question about their account's investment strategy.
       
    • a member's individual circumstance should be considered when determining appropriate action. This might include variables such as  
      • the member's age
      • the member's account balance
      • the member's insurance status
      • the members investment strategy
      • previous contact with the member
      • activity patterns on the member’s account.
       
      Last modified: 03 Jan 2017QC 27204