Date posted: 17/01/2018

Welcome to 2018. What's on the super horizon?

This year is going to be busy and interesting from a superannuation perspective.

In brief

  • Federal election
  • Legislation currently before Parliament
  • Royal Commission into misconduct in banking, superannuation and financial services industry

Here is my brief list of the main items to keep an eye on for the next year:

  1. Federal election – as my colleague Michael Croker has pointed out, a concomitant half Senate and full House of Reps election can be held between August 2018 and May 2019 so it would seem that this year’s May budget will be the last before the next election and therefore takes on added significance before moving onto election policies and the like.
  2. Implementation of 2016 super changes especially by SMSF administrators and tax agents.
  3. Productivity Commission review into competitiveness and efficiency of super system – a draft report will probably be controversial and will be issued early this year and the final report before year end.
  4. Legislation currently before Parliament:
    a.      Super fund asset holding disclosures
    b.      Trustee independence
    c.       Efforts to improve employer compulsory super compliance
    d.      New financial services complaints body.
  5. Royal Commission into misconduct in banking, superannuation and financial services industry.
    The Letters Patent for this Royal Commission excludes by exception SMSFs from its inquiry.  This is probably a good thing because SMSFs are small entities and most would lack the resources or time to engage with the Commission.  SMSFs mainly might be involved in product mis-selling, poor financial advice and product disclosures.
    All other financial services sectors will need to keep a close eye on the commission.  Most banks, insurance companies, large super funds and many other players will need constant legal representation and board and executive oversight of this commission of inquiry and any demands for evidence and other documents.  For these organisations to Royal Commission will be a significant distraction.
    We can only hope that any proposed regulatory changes that the Royal Commissioner proposes that are implemented actually improve the regulatory environment.
    Once this review is complete the government has said it will decide if a Compensation Scheme of Last Resort should be put in place.
  6. APRA amendments to prudential standards including new reporting requirements.
  7. Treasury consultations including those currently on foot:
    a.      Review of compassionate and financial hardship super benefit access rules
    b.      Review of LRBA loan balances included in Total Super Balance
    c.      Amendments to Non-Arm’s Length Income provisions.
  8. Implementation of the government’ super housing measures.
  9. Elder Abuse and range of potentially related amendments including altering enduring powers of attorney documents.
  10. ASIC user payers cost model implementation for SMSF auditors.
  11. APRA funds automatically sending income stream data to Department of Human Services.

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