AIST advocates for a super system that delivers good value and recognises the various needs of members – including their different investment needs. 

We support:

  • A system that puts members’ needs ahead of returning profits to shareholders.
  • A focus on long-term returns and how funds meet their investment objectives.
  • Thorough and transparent investment disclosure that is easily accessible by members.
  • Disclosure and reporting requirements that are both workable and fair.

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Select from our range of publications on this topic below: 


15 Feb 2019 - Amended legislation will keep more people in super system - AIST

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), has today welcomed the passage of the Protecting Your Super package, noting that important amendments would protect members from unintended consequences of the new legislation.

4 Feb 2019 - Regulators must act on Royal Commission recommendations to protect members in for-profit super funds

Today’s release of the final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Banking Financial Services is an historic opportunity to restore the community’s trust in financial services and prioritise consumer best interests ahead of banking profits and executive bonuses, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees said.

21 Jan 2019 - Profit-to-member funds embrace Insurance in Super Code

Over 96% of the members of profit-to-member super funds are now covered by the Insurance in Super Code of Practice, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) said today.

10 Jan 2019 - Productivity Commission gets it right on profit-to-member outperformance but misses mark on dealing with underperforming funds

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has today welcomed the Productivity Commission finding hard evidence - for the third time in a year - that the best performing super funds are in the profit-to-member sector. Today’s report from the Productivity Commission, which includes an additional year of data, found that on average, for the 11 years to 2018, profit to member funds outperformed retail funds by around 2 per cent per year.

11 Dec 2018 - New law to improve compliance with superannuation obligations among small businessAIST welcomes longer transition period for fee and cost disclosure requirements

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed today’s announcement from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that the transition periods for key fee and cost disclosure requirements have been extended.

6 Dec 2018 - New law to improve compliance with superannuation obligations among small business

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has today welcomed the passage of legislation to help ensure small businesses comply with their legal obligation to pay superannuation for their workers.

5 Dec 2018 - AIST Awards celebrate achievements of $1.3 trillion profit-to-member super sector

A focus on targeted, personalised communication about superannuation was a key theme among winning campaigns at last night’s Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) Awards for Excellence.

20 Nov 2018 - Domestic violence measures welcome but Government’s economic package falls short on improving retirement outcomes for women

The Government’s newly announced Women’s Economic Security Statement was a missed opportunity to improve retirement outcomes for women, said the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) today.

14 Nov 2018 - Welcome move to ensure super funds members who need insurance don’t lose it

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed today’s announcement from the Opposition that it will move to amend key measures in the insurance in superannuation package now before Parliament.

7 Nov 2018 - 12% super needed to deliver a dignified retirement for all working Australians

Moving to 12% superannuation is vital to ensure that all working Australians achieve a dignified standard of living in retirement, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) said today.

31 Oct 2018 - AIST member funds are AFCA-ready

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has today welcomed the launch of the new financial complaints body, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). Designed to be a one-stop shop for financial complaint resolution, AFCA represents the amalgamation of the Super Complaints Tribunal (SCT), the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO).

25 Oct 2018 - AIST welcomes end to decades of unfairness for WA de facto couples on super splitting

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Attorney-General today that separated de facto couples in Western Australia will soon be able to achieve a fair split of their superannuation assets in property settlements.

19 Sep 2018 - Labor’s super proposals an important step to improving retirement outcomes

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) welcomes Labor’s pre-election commitment that it will pay superannuation on government paid parental leave and scrap the minimum $450 monthly pay threshold for super payments.

17 Sep 2018 - Super’s next decade – where would you rather be?

Australian workers who invest their super in funds outside the high performing MySuper sector could be as much as $52.5 billion worse off in a decade’s time, according to new research from Rice Warner.

6 Sep 2018 - Scrapping pension age increase a win for older workers: AIST

The Australian institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed today’s announcement by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, that the Government will not proceed with its policy to raise the access age for the Age Pension to 70 years.

5 Sep 2018 - AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck opening address at ASI 2018

Profit-to-member super has been in a defensive position for longer than we all care to remember. We have had to defend against attacks on the compulsory nature of superannuation by those who would rather see full wages freedom as opposed to a compulsory retirement savings system. We have had to defend our sector’s governance structure and the role of employer and employee representation on equal representation boards.

29 Aug 2018 - AFR opinion piece (Aug 2018): Retail trustees, with their independent directors, were unable to protect members from fee gouging and other misconduct. They should be barred from MySuper

The Government’s fixation with industry super funds and its desire to break up the role of union and employer groups on industry fund boards looks like it has been finally laid to rest. In pursing industry funds relentlessly, the Government took its eye off the banks and the inherent conflicts of interest at the heart of their operations.

6 Aug 2018 - AIST Statement on the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry begins its Round Five hearings today in Melbourne. The focus of Round Five is superannuation, with the hearings scheduled to run for two weeks. Some AIST member funds have been given notice to give evidence and answer questions in these hearings.

19 Mar 2018 - Research shows widespread concern about housing affordability and retirement

New research on attitudes to property investment and saving for retirement has revealed widespread concern over affordable housing and support from a majority of non-property investors for changes to negative gearing.

14 Mar 2018 - Opening address - AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck at the 2018 Conference of Major Super Funds, Brisbane

"We are set for another big year in our industry this year. Assets under management continue to grow, markets are volatile and unpredictable, and there is a spotlight on our industry’s conduct and expenditure, through the lens of a Royal Commission ..."

15 Aug 2017 - Government reforms must recognise that net returns drive optimal retirement outcomes: AIST

The Government’s proposed ‘outcomes’ test risks diluting the vital role of net investment returns in delivering optimal retirement outcomes for superannuation consumers.

25 May 2017 - Choice members of ‘for-profit’ funds remain in the dark about poor performance

Millions of Australians are being kept in the dark about the poor performance of their retail super funds.

26 Feb 2016 - Senate Economics: New tax system for Managed Investment Trusts

AIST welcomes this legislation to create a new taxation system for attribution managed investment trusts. We note that the benefits of these bills should be made available to larger funds who invest through mandates. AIST recommends that guidance be provided by the ATO with respect to unit pricing, as well as certainty enshrined in legislation to ensure that there is no resettlement of trusts as a result of amendments to trust deeds which would have CGT effects to investors. We also recommend that the commencement date be postponed to 1 July 2017 in order to allow for the proper implementation of the new rules.

18 Feb 2016 - Review of super a timely opportunity to put spotlight on high fees and underperformance

The Productivity Commission Review of superannuation is a timely opportunity to put the spotlight on the high fees and the underperformance of some funds, particularly in the Choice environment, AIST said today

10 Feb 2016 - Fee report highlights the high price of choice for some Australians

A new report on fees and returns across Australia’s $2 trillion super sector has found that bank and retail-owned super funds offering “Choice” products are charging members up to four times more for underperforming investment options.

13 Mar 2015 - What will the superannuation industry be like in 2025?

A survey of the superannuation industry by AIST and BNP Paribas Securities Services has shown the world we are planning for today will be very different in 10 years' time.

26 Aug 2014 - Renovate the house don’t pull it down – AIST responds to the Financial System Inquiry

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) said today Australia’s $1.85 trillion superannuation system is on track to deliver further cost savings and value to members with the recently launched MySuper having already led to significant fee reductions*.

16 Jul 2014 - AIST to provide comprehensive response to the Financial Systems Inquiry interim report

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) said today it would begin preparing a comprehensive response on key superannuation issues raised in the Financial System Inquiry’s interim report. AIST CEO Tom Garcia said AIST welcomed the Inquiry’s support of a robust regulatory framework for superannuation, its recognition of superannuation’s important role in the economy, and the need to develop clearer objectives for the superannuation system.

8 Jul 2014 - Regulator crackdown on super fund fee disclosure will benefit consumers

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has today welcomed moves by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) to stamp out misleading fee disclosure practices in the super and managed investment industry. In a report released today, ASIC raises concerns about the practice of ‘fee gaming’, whereby some super products are structured to intentionally disclose lower fees and costs than would otherwise be required.

29 Apr 2014 - AIST CEO on fee debate

AIST CEO Tom Garcia was featured in The Australian today commenting on the fee debate. The piece, “Fee fears forget value debate,” was written by Andrew Main and published on page 19 of the business section.

9 Jan 2019 - FSC Consultation Draft – Life Insurance Code of Practice

AIST is pleased to provide feedback on the Financial Services Council’s review of the Life Insurance Code of Practice Consultation Draft. AIST provided comments on the original iteration of the life code and supports efforts for its continual improvement.

26 Sep 2018 - APRA post implementation review of prudential standards

There are several reviews either in progress or recently completed that may affect the ability of APRA to provide a full review of the framework at this point in time. AIST recommends that there be a further post implementation review to consider the final report of the Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services, as well as Productivity Commission reports, other recent APRA reviews, and initial industry feedback.

21 Sep 2018 - Submission to Financial Services Royal Commission – Round 5 Policy Issues

This submission is AIST’s second response to the Royal Commission. This submission responds directly to the submissions made by Counsel Assisting to the Commission at the close of the hearings relating specifically to superannuation in round 5.

27 Jul 2018 - First Submission to Financial Services Royal Commission

This submission is AIST’s first response to the Royal Commission.

13 Jul 2018 - Response to Productivity Commission Draft Report

AIST welcomes the opportunity to respond to this draft report. AIST agrees that there is no place for long term underperforming funds in the default space. However, we believe enhancing the current Fair Work Commission default selection process and increased APRA scrutiny are the most efficient, appropriate, and importantly the least disruptive ways, to address this issue. The Productivity Commission should address the biggest problem of underperforming choice funds in the retail sector, which is a drag on the efficiency of the super sector. The ‘best in show’ default proposal does not address this. Multiple accounts, balance erosion by fees and underperforming funds are serious issues, which are already being addressed by the APRA Outcomes Assessment Test, new ATO services. This should be enhanced by legislation supporting direct fund-to-fund consolidation of lost super. The Insurance Code should be implemented and be the focus for lifting standards. Regulator benchmarking of fees and returns should be used to assess if funds are delivering fair value and address under-performing funds.

8 Jun 2018 - Financial Institutions Supervisory Levies 2018-19

AIST supports the improvements in the process for raising levies. However, greater transparency, accountability and fairness are needed. Firstly, any discussion paper should be released simultaneously with a Cost Recovery Impact Statement and an updated Regulator Performance Assessment. Secondly, any risk-based approach to levy raising should take into account the volume of regulator activities spent on various entities and sectors (profit-to-member; retail).

29 May 2018 - Protecting Your Super Package

AIST generally supports the package, but changes are needed to better meet members’ best interests. The fee cap calculation needs review and sell spreads need to be included in the calculation of exit fees in order to prevent gaming. The Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice should be the focus for improving member outcomes rather than the proposed legislation. Inactive accounts should be directly transferred to active accounts. A greater lead time is needed, given both process change and ATO processes already in train. AIST would appreciate further consultations to help better meet the proposals’ objectives.

20 Apr 2018 - APRA New Data Collection Consultation

AIST submits that implementation should be integrated with a review of existing documentation and forms. It should also form part of a whole of government approach to financial services reporting; this approach should be articulated by government as a priority. We emphasise the importance of appropriate communication during transition and implementation.

20 Feb 2018 - Expert Review of Superannuation Fees and Costs Disclosure Regime

AIST supports the Expert Review. Our key concerns with the Disclosure Regime stem from members being placed in a position of not being able to compare products, the inability at system level of comparing fees, costs and returns, and the legislative onus to both collect and report not including investment managers, which hold the data in the first place. AIST strongly advocates that there is a need to clearly articulate the objectives and the underlining principles for the Regime, which (in being applied) would lead to a better outcome for both consumers and the system as a whole.

9 Feb 2018 - Product Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Power – Draft Legislation

We strongly support the Bill and ASIC’s Product Intervention Powers. However, we recommend that the Bill be amended so that all stages of the intermediated models of production and distribution are be captured. In particular, we recommend that product ‘manufacturers’ should be covered by the Bill: this would also better align the Bill with international disclosure trends. We support the exclusion of MySuper from the Bill, given MySuper requirements are more onerous. We are pleased to see the inclusion of Choice products. The complementary powers which would be provided to ASIC would lie on a regulatory framework from which there have been systemic carveouts. AIST appreciates fixing these is a longer-term project.

2 Feb 2018 - Tax Integrity Measures

AIST supports these measures which will reduce the ability of LRBAs to circumvent restrictions on contributions. We point out that fund leverage adds to systemic risk in the financial system, and point to the opportunity that exists to prohibit these, as recommended by the Financial System Inquiry.

20 Mar 2017 - RG97 fees and costs disclosure – issues list provided to ASIC

As requested by ASIC in its notification to extend the transition time for RG97, the industry has submitted the attached lists (separated into policy and technical issues).

7 Oct 2016 - External Dispute Resolution Framework

The Government’s review of the financial system’s external dispute resolution framework must carefully consider the needs of consumers. Due to the growth of the superannuation sector the dispute resolution framework must continue to be well equipped to deal with consumer demands and AIST believes that there is scope for improvement. AIST is not opposed to the establishment of a triage service, or a single disputes handling body.

15 Feb 2016 - CP 244: Remaking ASIC class orders on dealing in underlying investments

AIST supports the existing relief granted in Class Orders [CO 02/1161], [CO 02/1073] and [CO 02/1074]. We agree with ASIC’s explanation in paragraphs 11 to 19 of the consultation paper (CP 244) that without the relief, superannuation funds would be required to hold an AFS licence which authorises funds to trade in underlying assets, as well as the need to provide a Financial Services Guide (FSG) for trading in the underlying assets. We support the combining of these three class orders into one instrument together with the other changes described in CP 244.

29 Jan 2016 - Resilience and collateral protection and client money reforms

AIST welcomes measures aimed at improving resilience and stability of Australia’s financial system as well as facilitating participation in international derivatives markets. We support measures aimed at protecting retail clients, and we support efficiencies in wholesale derivatives markets, particularly where participants are Australia’s superannuation funds. We look forward to consultations around margin requirements with APRA, however we point out that any additional costs resulting from margining will be ultimately borne by members of superannuation funds. We note that the largest activity in derivative activity undertaken by funds is with regards to foreign currency hedging.

25 Jan 2016 - Improved Superannuation Transparency

While AIST strongly supports the greater alignment of MySuper and Choice disclosure through the introduction of Choice dashboards, AIST is concerned that certain products (including platforms and legacy products) – in which there is considerable member money invested - are excluded. Alignment of MySuper and Choice is needed to protect members and ensure greater superannuation system efficiency. Greater alignment of Portfolio Holdings Disclosure to consumer disclosure to capture interposed vehicles is also needed.

24 Dec 2015 - Raising professional standards of financial advisers

AIST supports the proposed requirements for financial advisers to require a bachelor’s degree, a professional year and the passing of an exam. We also support the requirement of an industry-wide code of ethics administered by a body chosen by the Minister. AIST submit that the transitional provisions must ensure that practitioners have appropriate time to comply.

31 Mar 2015 - AIST releases submission to final FSI report

AIST’s response to the Government on the Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI). The FSI Final Report makes a number of recommendations about superannuation and canvasses a range of policy options.

15 Sep 2014 - APRA – Draft reporting standards for select investment options

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has issued a draft reporting standards and Discussion Paper seeking views on reporting standards for all RSE licensees to report information in respect of certain non-MySuper investment options, which are referred to as select investment options.

29 Aug 2014 - CP 221 – OTC derivatives disclosure

Derivative transaction reporting is the reporting of over-the-counter (OTC) derivative transaction information to trade repositories, and is a key element of the OTC derivatives reform agenda agreed to by the G20.

26 Aug 2014 - Response to Financial System Inquiry Interim Report

The Financial System Inquiry, chaired by David Murray, has released its interim findings in to the financial system of Australia. This is AIST's response to these findings.

9 May 2014 - Giving effect to the FATCA IGA

In April 2014, the Commonwealth of Australia signed an intergovernmental agreement with the United States of America to improve international tax compliance and implement the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This exposure draft gives effect to Australia’s obligations under this agreement, under which superannuation providers are generally exempt.

31 Mar 2014 - Initial submission to the Financial System Inquiry

The Financial System Inquiry, chaired by David Murray AO, is charged with examining how the financial system could be positioned to best meet Australia's evolving needs and support Australia's economic growth. AIST’s initial submission examines regulation, the issues of adequacy, sustainability and longevity, diversity and governance, systemic risk, ensuring the system delivers and consideration of post-retirement solutions.

7 Mar 2014 - APRA – Draft LPG 270 Group Insurance Arrangements

LPG 270 is designed to outline prudential practices in relation to group insurance. Although its target audience is life companies, AIST has sent this submission as the majority of group insurance contracts involve superannuation funds.

12 Feb 2014 - Discussion paper – Regulation, governance, transparency and competition in the superannuation industry

The Assistant Treasurer released this discussion paper in November 2013, the purpose of which is to seek feedback on governance and transparency issues contained in the Government's superannuation election commitments. The paper also provides an opportunity for consultation on opening up competition and increasing transparency in relation to default employee superannuation fund contributions.

29 Jun 2018 - Fee and Performance Analysis

AIST has commissioned SuperRatings to update what consumers are getting from profit-to-member funds compared with for-profit funds run mainly by banks. The report shows that the median profit-to-member MySuper has delivered 8.33% pa to members over 3 years – well in excess of the 6.66% per annum by bank and retail-owned super funds – and at substantially lower fees. In the Choice sector, bank and retail-owned funds charge between 117-182% more than profit-to member funds and generally underperform over both the short and long term.

16 Mar 2018 - Home truths: negative gearing and retirement

Negative gearing allows taxpayers to borrow money to buy an asset and deduct any losses made against their taxable income. While negative gearing can be used to buy assets other than real estate – such as equities – property investments account for the vast majority of tax write-offs.

30 Aug 2017 - Risky business pays off

This research assesses the risk-return trade-off in the long term for Australian Superannuation funds and addresses the following key issues: • Is the performance of a multisector aggressive better than a multisector moderate over the longer term? • If multisector aggressive outperform in the long term: how long is long term? • What is the impact of a financial crisis on the return behaviour?

1 Mar 2017 - Fee and performance analysis

AIST has commissioned SuperRatings to examine what consumers are getting from profit-to-member superannuation funds when compared with superannuation funds run for profit (mainly by banks). This research examines over 5,000 investment options and fees, investment returns, and whether the investments underlying the investments are comparable. This report also examines a comparison with a similar report undertaken in 2015 and finds that Choice investment options have remained relatively unchanged regarding fee structures. Choice investment options in the for-profit sector (mainly run by banks) generally provide lower investment returns than the profit-to-member funds and are between 53% to 280% more expensive.

1 Dec 2016 - RG97: Disclosing fees and costs

This report examines how RG97 addresses the key objectives of providing consumer protection, the impact RG97 may have on asset allocations, and examines specific RG97 issues associated with estimations of costs.

16 Nov 2016 - Lifecycle MySuper Product Fees

This research investigates the relationship between MySuper asset allocations, investment fees and member outcomes. It concludes that the majority of funds use a fixed asset allocation that does not vary by age. Lifecycle options (i.e. investment options which do vary by age) are typically used by retail funds, rather than by not-for-profit funds. Where they are used by not-for-profit funds, de-risking (more conservative investments) usually starts at older ages than in retail funds. Building more conservative investment portfolios at earlier ages will see a reduction in member retirement outcomes.

1 Dec 2015 - Fee and performance analysis

AIST has commissioned research through SuperRatings to examine what consumers are getting from not-for-profit superannuation funds when compared with superannuation funds run for profit (mainly by banks). The research examines over 5,000 investment options. The research analyses fees, investment returns, and whether the assets underlying the investments are comparable – what are consumers getting on a like for like basis. A key finding of the report is that, in the Choice space – consumers are paying up to four times more in super fees for some retail funds and usually getting lower return.

3 Aug 2015 - Super Reality Check - Busting the $1 million retirement myth

One of the great things about Australia’s compulsory superannuation is that it is founded on the belief that all Australians deserve a dignified retirement. Yet when it comes to debating the big issues around superannuation – the objectives of the system, the tax rules or indeed, what makes for a dignified retirement - all too often the debate centres on the expectations of high income earners as opposed to what is relevant for the majority of working Australians.

15 Mar 2015 - 2025: What will the superannuation industry look like in a decade

AIST in conjunction with BNP Paribas Securities Services, undertook research to identify key longer-term issues the superannuation industry may face. By asking where you think the industry will be in 2025 we sought to consider how to best shape our industry, overcome challenges and maximise opportunities for asset owners, managers and investors.

15 Dec 2014 - Superannuation projections: A discussion paper

AIST commissioned research to consider the design and regulatory treatment of superannuation projections. The aim of the research was to explore how the value of static superannuation projections to members can be improved. The research also examines interactive superannuation calculators by way of comparison with static superannuation projections.

15 Jul 2014 - Navigating the new MySuper landscape

AIST commissioned RiceWarner to examine the extent MySuper has delivered on its promise of improved retirement incomes, the characteristics of common MySuper investment solutions, the differences and similarities between MySuper products and "lookalike" products, and emerging trends in the evolution of MySuper products.