18 June 2004

Superannuation Fees and Charges

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Ross Cameron MP, today hit out at baseless criticisms that have been levelled at the Government's superannuation fee disclosure package.

"Some of these criticisms reflect a lack of understanding of how the reform package will operate and others appear to be motivated solely by opposition to the Government's push to allow Australians to choose their own super fund," Mr Cameron said.

"The Government asked industry groups to propose a fee disclosure model that would simply and effectively disclose fees relating to superannuation. However, despite the best efforts of both the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), this could not be achieved.

"What the Government has proposed is a package that achieves simple, clear, consistent and comparable disclosure of information on superannuation fees and charges.

"A number of criticisms levelled at the disclosure package are aimed at measures that both industry groups agreed upon, including the use of fee ranges and the use of the balanced fund option.

"Fee ranges highlight to consumers that they have the capacity to negotiate lower fees with funds and advisers and the balanced fund approach ensures consumers are comparing apples with apples.

"The disclosure model also facilitates the use of the ASIC superannuation calculator so consumers who select other investment options will be able to calculate the applicable fees and charges by plugging the relevant data from the mandatory ASIC fee template into the ASIC Superannuation Calculator.

"The bottom-line snap shot in the fee comparison table is in keeping with the Government's aim of informing consumers in a simple and clear manner. As complexity is so often blamed for a lack of consumer interest, discretionary or non-compulsory fees and charges were not included in the body of the table.

"Likewise, the Government has not required the inclusion of long term benefit or fee projections because of their complexity, their inherent uncertainty and their potential to mislead consumers.

"The Government has focused on presenting consumers will clear information about current fees and charges that will assist them to shop around between funds to maximise value for money."