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Superannuation Administration Group key messages 8 December 2021

Summary of the key topics discussed at the Superannuation Administration Group meeting 8 December 2021.

Last updated 10 February 2022

Welcome and opening remarks

Tracie Crowden opened the meeting with an acknowledgment to country and welcomed those in attendance. Ian Roberts and Alastair Ramsay were noted as apologies.

There were no objections to the meeting being recorded to support the writing of key messages. The audio recording will be deleted once the key messages are endorsed by the Co-chairs.

Changes impacting funds

Sonia Corsini provided an update on changes impacting funds. Key messages included:

  • Five measures are currently before Parliament  
    • Reducing the eligibility age for the downsizer contribution from 65 to 60.
    • Removing the $450 per month threshold for super guarantee (SG) eligibility.
    • Repealing the work test for superannuation contributions.
    • First home super saver scheme (FHSSS) – increasing the maximum releasable amount to $50,000. A technical change is also proposed to FHSSS but is not included within this particular bill before Parliament.
    • Providing choice for trustees when calculating exempt current pension income.
  • ATO continues to work towards an implementation date for these measures of 1 July 2022. The ATO will come back to this group with further details on implementation once law has passed.
  • ATO is also aware of concerns previously raised by industry, such as difficulties in administering downsizer. As our web guidance material and forms are progressively updated, the ATO will look to make improvements in consultation with industry.

The Group welcomed engagement about upcoming changes.

SuperStream Rollover v3 process

Belinda Black provided a SuperStream Rollover v3 process update. Key messages included:

  • With Rollover v3 now in place, the Project team has been developing more guidance material based on feedback from industry meetings during November:    
  • A key insight has been the challenge of improving SMSF verification service outcomes – initially approx. 40% valid responses were returned, this has increased to 60% in November. Invalid responses are expected to reduce as additional guidance material is provided.

Key discussion points:

  • There may be an increase in volumes due to recent lodgments by eligible rollover funds, however these spikes are not expected to be significant.
  • A member raised a question about rejected Electronic service address responses when payment has already been made. Belinda Black confirmed this issue had been escalated, undertook to follow it up and get back to the member.

Tracie Crowden and Sue Pearce thanked Belinda and her team for their support in getting Rollover v3 over the line. This was a great example of collaboration with industry and the ATO working together to solve production problems. The turnover of release authorities going from 19 days to 3 days (on average) was noted as a huge achievement.

Your Future, Your Super

Katie Constance provided an update on the Your Future, Your Super project. Key messages included:

  • On 1 November 2021 the Stapled super fund request service for employers went live. A system bug was detected on deployment and a fix deployed overnight.
  • Usage of the service has been in line with expectations and producing high quality matches approximately 98% of the time.  
    • Two-thirds of requests are being made by employers
    • One-third by their representatives.  
      • The process has reinforced the message that the employee – employer link must already exist in ATO systems. Over time the need for multiple requests to get the right outcome is expected to reduce.
  • The manual Contractor stapled super fund request form is live and will be refined based on employer feedback. The bulk request process through ATO Secure mail is also going well, and the ATO is using all requests as an opportunity to educate employers on how to improve data quality to enhance the quality of outcomes.
  • Correspondence to employers and employees about the outcome of requests is issuing as intended. Note: – where an agent makes a request on behalf of an employer via Online services for agents, the ATO must issue an outcome notification to both the agent and employer in adherence with legislative requirements. Going forward, the Project will look to consolidate employer correspondence when their representative makes a number of requests in a short period of time to reduce the amount of correspondence received.
  • Usage of the service is being monitored and the compliance model is running. Nudge employer communications will commence next year where it appears that an employer did not use the service and they will be given the opportunity to make changes.
  • The membership of the digital service provider co-design group will be refreshed for Phase 2 of the project (to whitelist digital service providers to integrate the service into employers’ payroll systems) and meetings will commence this month to work through the draft specifications.  
    • Tracie Crowden noted the additional step for employers when onboarding staff will be streamlined with the implementation of Phase 2.
  • The YourSuper comparison tool has been updated with refreshed quarterly data from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Note: – there is no change to performance assessments, this will occur mid 2022 as it is an annual assessment by APRA. Two MySuper products that were reported as underperforming have exited the market through successor fund transfers (SFT).

Post meeting note – APRA have stated it will provide the ATO with quarterly data two months after the end of the quarter for the YourSuper comparison tool. We therefore expect the next update to the tool to occur in March 2022.

Key discussion points included:

  • Examples are being seen where employee correspondence advising an employer’s default fund will be used (due to no stapled fund being found), has prompted employees to exercise choice.
  • ATO has in place a procedure for resolving instances where a stapled fund is unable to accept SG contributions. Employers can either use the second alternative generated by the service or phone the ATO on 13 10 20.

Fund engagement updates

Shane Moore noted CRT Alert 013/2021 – Christmas shutdown notification which advised:

  • Systems maintenance will be undertaken from 27 December until 4 January 2022. Funds should speak to their digital service provider to avoid sending messages during this time.
  • All services using the single request processor (SRP) channel will be unavailable during this time (this includes SuperTICK, SuperMatch, fund validation service, SMSF verification service and SMSFMemberTICK).
  • Bulk services will be ‘caught and held’, technical receipts will issue then messages will be processed when maintenance is complete (this includes member account attribute service, member account transaction service, SuperMatch and SuperTICK).
  • If maintenance is completed earlier than expected, SRP services will be restored to normal functionality and advice will be issued through the ATO Superannuation DashboardExternal Link. Industry can subscribe to the Dashboard to receive these alerts.
  • In line with APRA’s FAQ 8, funds are not required to report a breach of three day rollover processing requirements for the full period of the published maintenance period.

Shane Moore advised Guidance Note 51 PDF 120KBThis link will download a file had been updated to reflect the Group’s conversation in June this year about what would trigger reconsideration of using the new payments platform.

Post meeting note:

  • Guidance note G051-SuperStream payments using the NPP has been updated Super News article was published.
  • Super processing schedule was published. Note – processing will recommence on 6 January 2022. It was suggested this schedule should note that Release Authorities are issued daily.

Bill Korras gave an update about Super Enquiry Service. Key messages included:

  • To date the Service has received approximately 3,700 enquiries. Approximately 130 funds have onboarded to the Service accounting for more the 230 users.
  • ATO call centres are seeing an increase in compassionate release requests. More details will be shared when they become available, but funds should continue to direct members to check they meet the eligibility requirements for compassionate release of super.
  • It was noted that the main enquiries being receiving through the Service would be highlighted at future meeting.

Fund validation service improvements/enhancements

Shane Moore provided an overview of the history of the fund validation service (FVS) and asked members to consider any changes or improvements that could be made. Any recommended change is not confirmed and would be subject to more specific feasibility and capacity processes.

Post meeting note – the ATO has prepared an initial list of improvements and is seeking feedback on these suggestions, and whether there are any further changes that could be considered.

FVS update

New validation rule to reject any updates to unique superannuation identifiers (USIs) within 14 days of the effective from date.

Update validation rules to prevent more than one certification version for each transaction type.

New optional data field – text field to notify where this USI will be moving to as part of an SFT or intra-fund transfer (IFT).

New optional data field – text field to advise which USIs have transferred to this enduring/new USI.

New optional data field for PayId.

FVS Get: Single

Update provided information to also provide upcoming changes for one USI in same format as the FVS Get: All service.

Introduce a new message type to provide information for a closed USI.

FVS Get: All

Include any new data elements in the bulk extract.

FVS List

Allow this service to return a list of closed USIs.

Consider whether this service could also include the ability to follow-a-USI, where the service will return the new USI where a USI has been part of an SFT/IFT.

Key discussion points included:

  • Any changes to the Service would also cover guidance material, for example clarifying if gateways can overwrite information.
  • Changes to the FVS will require planning because it will necessitate changes to funds’ registry systems.

Funds can send their suggestions to ATO is always happy to hear ideas to improve any services at any time.

Operational Insights Report

Tracy Holloway gave an update about the Operational Insights Report (OIR). Key messages included:

  • Thank you to members that provided feedback on the sample OIR and user guide. ATO received a lot of valuable feedback, including the need to be able to drill down to the USI level.
  • To consider if this level of detail could be provided, the OIR is on hold. ATO will re-engage with industry when the OIR Design Working Group will recommence.

Given the resourcing funds also need to support the OIR, the Group welcomed this development.

Campaign work

Anna Pace gave an update on campaign work. Key messages included:

  • Ninety-nine percent of unlinked annual balances reported through the Member account transaction service (MATS) were due to no corresponding member account information being reported through the Member account attribute service (MAAS). For member accounts to match, the following information must be identical on the MAAS and MATS:  
    • Australian business number (ABN)
    • USI
    • Member account identifier.

Once this reporting was corrected, a number of other transactions were remedied.

  • Annual balance non-lodgment activities were undertaken.
  • Unclaimed superannuation money (USM) non-lodgment has also been a focus. This has been an opportunity to reinforce the importance of lodging a USM non-lodgment advice if a fund does not hold USM at the end of the unclaimed money day.
  • Funds were also contacted about lodging test data which lead to unmatched accounts. It is critical to maintain the integrity of MAAS and MATS data.
  • Engagement activities were undertaken where there was a lack of mandatory employer information reported in the employer contribution MATS.
  • Monitoring and follow-up also occurred where there were repeat calls to SuperMatch for the same TFN.

Next year there will be a focus on:

  • Partial lodgments of annual balances, where not all annual balances have been reported for the expected population.
  • Reporting of deceased accounts – details on the closed MAAS must relate only to the deceased member (not Estate of or Executor for the deceased member), and details on the new open MAAS must relate only to the beneficiary.
  • Non-individual information reported via the MAAS.

Key discussion points included:

  • ATO is aware of the anomaly caused by closed accounts and will remove these from the sample of expected annual account balance data.
  • Group members noted several of their defined benefit fund members were incorrectly advised by the ATO that their fund had not reported personal contributions which the member intended to claim as a personal super deduction. Funds took a variety of steps to resolve this error, but it was agreed that it was important to check the member was matched and provide the member with a screenshot of what the fund had reported via MATS, so it can be provided to the ATO.
  • These funds also reported incorrect treatment of grandfathered notional tax contributions reported in MATS. It was noted that it was important to check the member’s ‘status’ date is correct in these instances.

Tracie Crowden noted that the update on ATO campaign work had been well received, and the ATO will make it a standing agenda item.

End of year wrap-up

Sue Pearce and Tracie Crowden noted that it had been a very busy 2021 and a lot had been achieved including:

  • Design and implementation of Rollovers v3, and the YourSuper comparison tool and Stapling service.
  • Implementation of the Reuniting More Super Bill and an interim reporting solution to cater for trustee voluntary payment process.
  • Revision of SuperMatch terms and conditions of use.

Sue Pearce said industry was appreciative of the collaborative approach taken by the ATO and level of support provided.

In 2022 the group noted it would like to:

  • refresh existing processes to improve member experience
  • discuss other changes facing industry from other regulators (ASIC and APRA)
  • add fraud as a standing agenda item
  • develop a register of system enhancements, irritants and review legacy systems, such as member contributions statement
  • Use the group as a way to raise issues they are seeing and share best practice. For example, a member noted the rejection of contributions for income protection. The group advised that the fund still needed to accept the contributions because it was in the best interests of the member.

Other business and close

While 2021 has been tough, it has been very productive and the group looks forward to continuing to work together.

Tracie Crowden thanked members for their contributions during the year and wished everyone a safe and merry Christmas.