5 August 2004

Senator Sherry's Sneaky Fee Scare

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Ross Cameron MP, today hit out at baseless criticisms of the Government's superannuation fee disclosure package by Senator Sherry.

Ross Cameron said Senator Sherry's attempts to misrepresent the facts on the Government's enhanced superannuation fee disclosure package are irresponsible and regrettable.

Contrary to Senator Sherry's assertion, superannuation funds will not be able to use so called "honeymoon" fees to circumvent the Government's enhanced fee disclosure package.

The Government's model will require the full range of fees to be disclosed to potential fund members. This will ensure that consumers will receive a realistic view of fees that may be charged. Funds will not be permitted to mislead investors by attempting to artificially lower fees.

The Government's fee disclosure model will provide product holders with a detailed breakdown of fees using common terminology and a single figure which shows the combined effect of fees on a $50,000 balance with $5,000 contributions.

The Government's model will also require any indirect fees/costs that arise through platform provider and master trust/wrap arrangements to be incorporated into the single figure amount.

In addition to its enhanced fee disclosure package, the Government has inserted special provisions in the Corporations Act that require extra disclosure when an adviser recommends a client move from one fund to another. It is also asking ASIC to monitor fees and charges.

ASIC has strong powers and additional funding to ensure that consumers will be protected following the introduction of choice. The ASIC Chairman, Jeff Lucy, yesterday stated that the Commission would take a tough enforcement approach to ensure that consumers are not disadvantaged under the new regime.