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Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group key messages 22 February 2022

Information about the key topics discussed at the Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group meeting 22 February 2022.

Last updated 4 April 2022

Welcome and introduction

Co-chair David Knox opened the meeting with an acknowledgement to country.

Making written communication more effective for members

Chas Savage from Ethos presented the results and findings from their research on The 2021 readability scorecard: Australian superannuation fundsThis link will download a file (PDF 891 KB) including adopting principles of plain language and setting universal readability standards.

Recommendations of the review are:

  • recognise and promote improved readability to ensure the interests of vulnerable consumers are protected
  • set universal readability standards which are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic for all content produced by funds.

Members noted:

  • issues with communications not including key information or sufficient sign-posts to key information
  • the importance of considering communications holistically, particularly having regard to the principle based obligations imposed on trustees
  • it was often difficult to manage competing objectives of making documents more readable whilst ensuring legal compliance
  • consumers want different ways to access information – written information may not always be appropriate and some members prefer to talk to someone rather than read documents
  • funds and organisations in general should not assume that consumers will read what they have been sent or that they will take relevant action because of that communication, meaning that setting up the right default arrangements can be important
  • technical compliance with legal requirements is important but should not be the only goal
  • legal and technical clearance is required to ensure advice is legally correct – it often undertaken by lawyers and can add to the complexity of written communication
  • where communication does fail it is important to learn from these events to plan for future communication – Funds should crowdsource feedback and information from call centre enquiries to gauge how well they are doing in engaging with their members
  • the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group is looking at how funds interact with First Nations people – different communication strategies are being used to reach this cohort, including the use of radio.

Superannuation Regulators update

Regulators provided brief updates on progress with project initiatives and topics of interest.


Treasury provided an update on the passage of legislation of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Superannuation Outcomes for Australians and Helping Australian Businesses Invest) Bill 2021External Link.

The following measures have been enacted in recent weeks:

  • Removal of the $450 per month threshold for salary or wages expanding coverage of super guarantee to all employees regardless of their pay provided they are not excluded by other eligibility criteria
  • First home super saver scheme maximum releasable amount increased to $50,000
  • Reduced eligibility age to 60 years for downsizer contributions
  • The Retirement Income Covenant (RIC).

Other Bills:

Consultation in progress:

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released their Supervision and Policy priorities for the next 12–18 months. The focus is 'protected for today and prepared for tomorrow'.

A risk culture survey for general insurers, banks and super funds will be conducted in May 2022.

It is expected that industry will lead the response for RIC implementation. A joint APRA and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) communication will be issued setting out what trustees should consider in implementing the RIC.

Policy prioritiesThis link will download a file (PDF 1.88MB) include:

  • consultation on Prudential Standard SPS 530 Investment Governance in superannuation closed 16 February 2022 – APRA has received 12 submissions
  • amendments to Prudential Standard SPS 310 Audit and Related Matters to ensure that new reporting standards are appropriately reflected in the annual audit – submissions close on the 11 March 2022
  • the Strengthening Financial Resilience in SuperannuationExternal Link discussion paper which will be discussed at the next out of session Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group (SISG) meeting on 17 March – submissions to this discussion paper close 11 March
  • RIC – ASIC and APRA will release information on general expectations of what trustees need to think about including business planning cycle, clear governance and oversight, robust analysis of sub classes and fit for purpose communication for members for 2022.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Consultation paper CP 358 Remaking ASIC relief on Product Disclosure Statements, superannuation dashboards and Financial Services Guides is open for comment and closes 12 April 2022.

Comments closed on Consultation paper CP 350 Consumer remediation: Further consultation on 11 February 2022.

ASIC will be contacting funds about internal dispute resolution to get information about the current processes in place. A deep dive will also be conducted on a sample of funds

A review of performance test communications by trustees has been undertaken with 30 fund trustees, including performing and underperforming funds, to see what is being communicated to members.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The independent review of Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) operations was released on 24 November 2021 and found that the agency is performing well in a changing and challenging regulatory landscape.

All 14 recommendations have been accepted. In March, information will be available on the AFCA website regarding relevant activities and the implementation timeline. The key changes include:

  • funding model changes – members will be consulted on the proposed changes
  • the annual levy will be based on fee for service – aligned to actual volume and complaints closure points and some big users may be paying more.

The Federal Court recently dismissed an appeal that questioned AFCA’s jurisdiction to consider certain complaints regarding insurance held within superannuation in its general jurisdiction. The appellant wanted AFCA to focus on the ten superannuation complaint categories set out in the Corporations Act. The Federal Court disagreed. The case has been appealed.


Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2

Mandatory reporting for STP Phase 2 started on 1 January 2022. Many Digital Service Providers (DSPs) have deferrals in place covering their customers.

As of 7 February, 60 products are available for STP Phase 2 reporting and others will become progressively ready over 2022.

8,000 employers are now reporting for over 65,000 employees.

DSPs are notifying customers when products are ready.

There is now a process in place for employers to apply for a deferral if not covered by a DSP deferral. Tax professionals can apply on their clients’ behalf.

Guidance and recordings from educational webinars that were held over September to November are now available on to help employers understand the changes.

Visibility of superannuation assets in family law

The ATO and the Family Courts are working closely to build a secure electronic information system to facilitate the sharing of superannuation information. Testing of these systems is progressing well and is on track for a 1 April 2022 start date.

The system will provide details such as super fund name, ABN, Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI), the last reported balance at date and the account phase. The ATO will not be including the member account number in our response to the Court to avoid any risk of fraud.

YourSuper comparison tool

There have been over 1 million views of the comparison tool, with none of the 78 MySuper funds being excluded from comparisons.

We have seen spikes in usage with media announcements; in particular when people received notification they were in an under-performing fund.

We have seen shifts in fund rollovers and consolidation (including from under-performing funds) and although we cannot be entirely sure of an individual’s motivation to transfer, we see the comparison tool as a very positive source of information and a vehicle to assist.

A review of the comparison tool for some small improvements is underway.

Stapled super fund requests

There have been over 95,000 requests for a stapled fund – with a matching rate of 92%.

The service has been used in all its forms – including by employers or their agents, and through online, the bulk service and phone requests.

The proportion of cases that are rejected because they do not have a recognised relationship is sitting at 18%.

Specifications for Phase 2 are with the Core Design Team (CDT) for feedback. The developer portal is now available. The CDT is also reviewing the User Guide.

SuperStream Rollovers version 3

The business-to-business side of SuperStream Rollovers version 3 (v3) is working reasonably well and the number of queries from funds/SMSF providers has reduced significantly.

The ATO has seen some processing issues, outside of SuperStream, impacting both APRA to SMSF and SMSF to APRA rollovers, such as:

  • practical issues with SMSFs/agents resulting in mismatching elements between messages/payments
  • APRA funds’ Know Your Customer obligations.

A workshop with the SMSF Rollovers and Release Authorities v3 Co-design Group was held 1 February to discuss teething issued including SMSF transfer limits and potential alternative payment channels.

Director identification (ID)

SISG members were reminded to encourage their members and communities to obtain a director ID within the prescribed timeframes.

Industry Environmental Scan

The SMSF Association noted complaints that delays with rollovers from APRA regulated funds to SMSFs have increased since the implementation of SuperStream Rollovers v3.

Members noted that:

  • there is limited data to indicate the extent of the problem
  • checks and balances are needed to protect the funds
  • there is a need to ensure sufficient time is allocated for the rollover
  • rollovers into SMSFs often reject because of a bank account name mismatch.

Industry was interested in an update on progress with non-arm’s length income (NALI) issues discussed in previous meetings and were keen to see legislative change. The ATO and Treasury confirmed there had been no change.

Feedback on ATO items

Downsizer contribution into super form

The ATO were seeking feedback on potential issues faced by clients where they make an electronic contribution prior to submitting a Downsizer contribution into super form.

With the move to electronic transactions, this form is often received after the contribution has been received and results in a fund reporting it as a contribution which is then taxed as a contribution as opposed to a downsizer.

Members were supportive of simplification of the process of accepting downsizer contributions with the ATO to lead a working group to identify administrative solutions.

Review of the Superannuation standard choice form

The ATO is undertaking a review of the Superannuation standard choice form and sought input from members on the current experience and issues with the form.

Overall, members were supportive of the review and encouraged the ATO to undertake broad user testing to make it easier for clients to exercise choice.

Members were also encouraged to distribute the questionnaire widely for feedback.

Super Consumers Australia strategic priorities

Super Consumers Australia (SCA) provided an overview of their emerging priorities. The strategic priorities include:

  • enhancing member outcomes
  • making retirement planning easier
  • insurance in super.

The three strategic priorities are determined through consumer surveys, input to reference committees, super specialists and academics.

SCA will issue a research paper on retirement income standards and planning in the coming weeks.

Death benefit nominations

The Financial Counselling Australia is leading a submission to government to change and simplify the death benefit nomination process.

The group discussed the death benefit nomination process issues impacting indigenous communities.

It was noted the current system is costly and complex for all but particularly difficult for First Nations people in remote communities who have limited access to assistance or resources.

Members highlighted:

  • the definitions of dependents and interdependents need to be reviewed to determine if they are still appropriate
  • the death benefit system was put in place in 1993 and queried if it is still fit for purpose
  • the current binding death nomination process is an all or nothing approach and is not ideal
  • the problems faced by Indigenous people are similar for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The ATO acknowledged that it has limited visibility of the death benefit nomination process between funds and individuals.

Members were encouraged to consider the issues, liaise with their colleagues and pass on any relevant feedback.


Attendees list




Tracie Crowden, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

Association of Super Funds Australia

Glen McCrea

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

Heather Gray

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees

Eva Scheerlinck

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Carolyn Morris

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Alex Purvis

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Jane Eccleston

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Tony Negline

COTA Australia

Ian Yates

Industry Super Australia

Ella Cebon

Law Council of Australia

Michelle Levy


David Knox (Co-chair)

SMSF Association

Peter Burgess

Super Consumers Australia

Xavier O’Halloran

The Tax Institute

Phil Broderick


Lynn Kelly

Guest attendees

Guest attendees list




Kylie White, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Julie Rowland, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Malcolm Allen, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Sonia Corsini, Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Trevor Schloss, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees

Carlos Lopez

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Sarah Nicholson

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Suzanne Smith

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Brad Ruting

Ethos CRS

Chas Savage

Ethos CRS

Ethan Howard

Financial Services Council

Michael Potter


Luke Spear


Apologies list




Emma Rosenzweig (Co-chair), Superannuation and Employer Obligations


Michelle Allen, Superannuation and Employer Obligations

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Katrina Ellis

Business Council of Australia

Ben Davies

Financial Services Council

Spiro Premetis

Link Group

Theresa Mills