There are rules to apply to all members when considering if they are a lost member.
A member is permanently excluded from being a lost member if:
- the member is an inactive member who has indicated by a positive act that they wish to continue to be a member of the provider, or
- the member has contacted the super provider at any time after they joined and indicated that they wished to continue being a member of the provider, or
- the member is a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).
Best practice – ATO guidance
ATO guidance for the permanent exclusion of members has been provided within the Inactive and Uncontactable sections of this document, as this test can be applied to both types of lost members. Refer to Uncontactable members and permanent exclusion and Inactive members and permanent exclusion for more information.
The third test for permanent exclusion refers to membership with an SMSF – this means no SMSF account should ever be reported as lost.
Where you become aware that a member has an SMSF account in addition to the interest they hold with you, you must still consider whether the member meets the lost criteria in relation to the superannuation interest held with you.
Note: a permanent exclusion decision based on a positive act can be used for an inactive member account only.
For funds only, you do not have the discretion to consider any other permanent exclusion tests. However, you are not obliged to accept any members that satisfy the definition of lost as being permanently excluded. Likewise, you may decide whether to continue treating a member, or class of members, as permanently excluded.
Under both the SISR and the RSAR the member is taken to be a lost member at a particular time if they meet the criteria listed unless:
- within the last two years, the super provider has verified that the member's address (electronic or non-electronic) is correct and has no reason to believe that the address is now incorrect
Best practice – ATO guidance
If you have verified within the last two years that the member’s address is correct and you have no reason to believe the address is now incorrect, then the member is not lost.
Address verification may include:
- you have never had an address for the member, the member contacts you and provides their current address and you record an address for the member for the first time
- you contact the member and confirm the current address is correct and record the confirmation, or the member provides their new address and you update their records with the new details
- the ATO provides you with an address for a member which confirms the address held in your records for that member and you have no reason to believe that the address in now incorrect
- a third party authorised to act on the member's behalf (e.g. their financial adviser) confirms the current address held in your records for the member is correct and you record the confirmation, or provides the member's new address and you update your records with the new details.
Actions that are good practice to verify addresses include:
- calling a member’s mobile or work phone number to confirm their address details, and recording the confirmation
- if the member receives employer contributions, contacting the employee via the employer to confirm the member's address
- after having received returned mail, writing to the member at an alternative address which was located using an external source, such as the White Pages. An acknowledgement subsequently received (for example, by letter, telephone, email or similar) by you from the member could then be used to update your records
- using system enhancements such as an ‘address-verification’ button which is automatically made available when a member enters or exits the website (for example, Y to confirm the address details, and N to update or add details).
You have received two letters ‘returned unclaimed.’ You determine that the member is 'lost – uncontactable'. The ATO provides you with an address for that member which matches the address held on your records for that member.
In this instance, the conflicting information makes it unlikely you could have verified the address until you have made contact with your member.End of example