The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recently intervened in relation to 21 superannuation trustees that failed to adequately disclose transparency information on their super fund websites.
Under s 29QB of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act), each super fund must disclose transparency information (TI) on a website and keep it up to date at all times. TI comprises remuneration, governance and other fund information such as fund trust deeds and product disclosure statements, a summary of significant event notices and a summary of how the trustee voted in the last financial year in relation to its listed shares.
ASIC expects super fund websites to be easily found by searching the fund's name using an internet search engine, and to have a homepage that prominently points to the TI. An ASIC review, however, revealed transparency deficiencies by 21 super funds, two of which were large funds with assets exceeding $10 billion, including:
- not having a super fund website (10 funds);
- displaying no TI on the fund website (four funds);
- providing no remuneration information (five funds); and
- disclosing remuneration in bands, rather than for each individual executive officer (two funds).
ASIC wrote to the trustees of the 21 super funds, representing 15% of the trustee population, asking them to address these transparency failures. As a result, seven trustees disclosed the required information, five made it easier to find the information and trustees of two small funds that did not have websites sought relief from TI obligations. ASIC also said that seven trustees transferred fund members to another fund before winding up the fund, while two trustees improved their procedures for ensuring TI is up to date.