Policy & Research Archive

AIST Policy News

Acting AIST CEO appointed

The AIST Board today announced the appointment of Eva Scheerlinck as acting CEO.

Ms Scheerlinck – who has served in the role of AIST Executive Manager, Governance & Stewardship since 2010 – will commence her new role when AIST’s current CEO, Tom Garcia, departs on March 10, 2017.

The appointment of Ms Scheerlinck brings stability and leadership to AIST while the search for a new CEO continues.

Applications for the CEO position closed last Friday and interviews for the role have now begun.

Mr Garcia – who announced he was stepping down from the role of CEO late last year – will continue his career in the profit-to-member superannuation sector, taking up an appointment with AustralianSuper.

Members consulted on draft governance code 

AIST’s Australia-wide consultation process on our draft governance code is now nearing completion, with just a handful of meetings to go.

The principles-based governance code - which AIST member funds will be asked to report against - seeks to ensure profit-to-member funds are positioned at the leading edge of international best practice governance. To date, feedback on the draft code from members has been largely supportive.  

A final code will be officially launched at the upcoming Conference of Major Superannuation Funds on the Gold Coast March 22 -24 with a voluntary proposed roll out date of 1 July, this year, transitioning to a mandatory regime from July 01, 2018.  

Interested members are encouraged to attend the AIST Annual General Meeting and AIST Member - Only Briefing at CMSF to find out more information. Alternatively, you can contact Eva Scheerlinck at escheerlinck@aist.asn.au 

Single Touch Payroll consultations continue

AIST continues to be very actively engaged with the Australian Tax Office ahead of the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) – a government initiative designed to streamline the way employers report their pay and super obligations.

As noted in this media article by AIST Executive Manager, Policy & Research, David Haynes, AIST is concerned that the new technology could significantly impact on the way individuals select their super funds.

The ATO is currently consumer testing new online selection forms with an extensive consultation process expected. AIST is part of the ATO working group on the design of these forms and will keep our member funds updated on further developments.

For further information, please contact AIST Executive Manager, Policy & Research, David Haynes at dhaynes@aist.asn.au

Whistleblower protection is failing

AIST has used a recent submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial services to call for significant reform to Australia’s whistleblowing framework.

In a submission to the Parliamentary inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and profit-to-member sectors, AIST argues that significant changes to Australia’s whistleblowing laws are necessary to ensure that those who disclose misconduct are not adversely affected as a result of blowing the whistle.

AIST believes the current framework does not sufficiently protect whistleblowers and recommends that the scope of the protection framework be expanded so that a greater number of people can rely on legislative protection.

AIST argues that whistleblowers should be able to access a variety of forms of redress in the event that they are victimised or suffer detriment as a result of making a disclosure. We further recommend that super funds have internal policies and procedures in place to support and protect whistleblowers.

The committee’s report is due 30 June 2017. Members seeking more information can contact AIST Research Officer Jake Sims at jsims@aist.asn.au

Time to get serious about unpaid super

AIST has reiterated calls for better resourcing and stronger action on the non-payment of Superannuation Guarantee.

In a submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry: Superannuation Guarantee Non-Payment, AIST calls for improved payslip reporting and stronger support for SuperStream and Single Touch Payroll.

AIST said changes to the system – such as the SG to be calculated on gross remuneration rather than ordinary time earnings and the removal of the $450 monthly threshold – would be welcome steps to simplify the obligation.

AIST also calls on both the Government and ATO to complete previous projects aimed at reducing SG non-compliance. This includes the Securing Super portion of the Stronger Super package and 2015 ATO consultations with the industry.

The Senate Committee is due to report by 22 March, 2017. For further information, members can contact AIST Policy & Regulatory Analyst Richard Webb at rwebb@aist.asn.au

ATO info on super changes available to funds

The Australian Tax Office wishes to alert super funds to new communications campaign on the upcoming tax and other changes to superannuation.

The new campaign - aimed at educating both individuals and APRA-regulated funds - hosts a range of consumer-friendly information.  The ATO super changes overview page has already receiving over 35,000 unique views, with more traffic anticipated as the deadline for many of the changes comes into effect.

Funds and individuals can subscribe to receive an email or RSS feed alert when the ATO pages are updated with new information.

The pages have also been shared on the ASIC MoneySmart website; Treasury website superannuation and retirement area; and will soon be shared on the Department of Human Resources website.

Work is also progressing to update the ato.gov.au glossary to ensure super terms included in there are up to date and new terms that have been introduced with the changes are included.

Funds are encouraged to reference and include links to the ATO super changes web pages on their websites.

Funds are also reminded that the ATO also released a Superannuation Communique in January that includes summary impacts for what APRA-regulated funds need to do before 1 July 2017 and your new obligations after 1 July 2017.