To date, the implementation of Protecting Your Super (PYS) and Putting Members Interests First (PMIF) legislation has been a long and winding road and this will continue, with even more twists and bends, as the next round of changes come through.
The last two years have seen a myriad of changes to superannuation and its affiliated insurance but in the words of Billy Ocean ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. It’s been great to see the industry take on these changes, to prioritise and protect members’ interests, with focus and determination. The year ahead will be one of the toughest yet, so let’s have a look at what’s coming up in regards to insurance in super.
Oct 2020APRA SPS 515 Strategic Planning and Member Outcomes: annual performance assessment to determine whether the financial interests of the members are being promoted; Federal Budget implications; next round of ATO auto-consolidation (PYS).
Dec 2020 Implementation of various FSRC related legislation: enforceability of industry codes (eg. Insurance in Super Code of Practice), Insurance Claims handling to become a financial service; Universal Terms for Insurance in MySuper.
Mar 2021APRA SPS 250 Insurance in Superannuation: requirements with respect to making insured benefits available to beneficiaries; Compliance with ASIC REP633: requirements set to provide improved consumer protections which many funds will be able to meet as they renegotiate their insurance policies.
Apr 2021Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers Regime: Issuers and distributors required to have an adequate product governance framework to ensure products are targeted at the right people (this regime will affect almost all areas of the financial services industry).
Jun 2021Insurance in Super Voluntary Code of Practice becomes binding and enforceable and funds must have transitioned and be compliant before this date.
Oct 2021ASIC REG271 Internal Dispute Resolution: financial entities must meet ASIC’s standards and requirements for Internal Dispute Resolution systems and have an AFCA membership.
Dec 2020-21Financial Accountability Regime: extension of accountability requirements to other APRA-regulated entities and directors/senior executives in accordance with the government’s response to the FSRC recommendations.
OngoingAFCA implementation and compliance
UnknownPotential creation of a co-regulatory model for industry codes: Under a co-regulatory model, industry participants would be required to subscribe to an ASIC approved code and, in the event of non-compliance with the code, an individual customer would be entitled to seek appropriate redress through the participant’s internal and external dispute resolution arrangements.
As well as ensuring compliance and implementation of all regulatory and legislative changes, super funds will still be dealing with the continuing ramifications of COVID-19. IQ remains focussed on helping our clients navigate these changes and cut through the complexity of the year to come, supporting them to achieve the best outcomes for their members.
The insurance world keeps turning and regulations and standards are constantly evolving, but members still need their insurance and funds must continue to put members interests first, in everything they do.
By Kiara Leslie (Graduate Consultant) and
Sharon Campanaro (Principal Consultant and Head of Change and Learning Services)
As we wait for the Retirement Income Review report to be released, we thought we’d ask one of our very own, George Georgiou, how he feels personally about getting closer to retirement and find out just how good the superannuation system, in particular, has worked for him.
George, please tell us a bit about yourself. What are your likes, dislikes?
I’m in my 60s and married with 3 adult daughters. I enjoy spending time with family and watching my beloved Tigers. What I dislike is spending time commuting and seeing the Tigers lose!
What’s your dream retirement?
It’s important to me to retire with good health, and not ‘work myself to death’, so whilst I am feeling ok and making a contribution I will keep working. The move to working from home has helped me a lot, not having to travel for 3 hours a day. This has been a factor in my thinking about transitioning to retirement in a stage approach. Once I retire, I think there will be some travel, local and overseas, but spending time with family and friends will be important to me.
Are you likely to live out your dream retirement?
I hope so – the cost of living is going up all the time, so I keep trying to put money into areas that will save me money once I am retired – home renovations are top of the list.
What will be most important to you in retirement?
The most important things for me will be good health – to be able to do the things I want to do; no pandemics to interfere with my holiday plans; and an income – that supports the lifestyle I want to have.
Have you planned for your retirement and if so, how?
I am putting some extra dollars into super each pay day to help boost the final balance. I am making sure that I don’t take have any debts when I get to retirement age. Also, we are looking to manage our lifestyle to spend less each week.
What has the current pandemic highlighted for you and does this affect your plans?
The pandemic has made me realise how much time was lost travelling into the office every day. Working from home will now be a constant part of my remaining work life. I feel that I now have the ability to work longer than might have been the case if I had to continue to commute every day to work.
How do you feel about getting closer to retirement?
I am reasonably confident as my super balance has not been greatly impacted by the pandemic – a zero return for the last year is about all I could have expected. Using the calculator on my fund’s website says I need to keep contributing a little extra regularly to my super to ensure my retirement income meets my lifestyle.
What has your experience of the superannuation system been like?
Super is a very major part of my retirement planning. I only moved from a retail fund to an industry fund 5 years ago and, looking back, I wish I had moved earlier. The clarity of the reporting from the industry fund has made it much easier for me to understand where my money is invested and the returns it is generating – this was not there 5 to 10 years ago.
I feel that having the flexibility to choose where my money is invested is a positive feature, especially if you believe that you would prefer your savings to be invested in the industries you support rather than those selected by your fund’s investment committee.
As you get closer to retirement, what message do you have for people younger than you?
I encourage everyone to look at the lifestyle of your seniors or parents, and ask if they have the lifestyle that you would like to have when you reach their age.
Consider how they have achieved that lifestyle, positive or negative, and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from their position. Then, set the plans in place to achieve your preferred retirement lifestyle.
As part of the Federal Budget, the Government’s Your Future, Your Super reforms have been announced. Provided the measures are passed by Parliament, by 1 July next year, the following changes will take effect.
Stapling Employees to a Super Fund for Life
Employees will keep their super fund when they change jobs, and thus stop the creation of unintended multiple super accounts and the erosion of super balances.
Employers will pay super to an employee’s existing super fund unless the employee selects an alternative fund. Employers will obtain information about an employee’s existing super fund from the ATO by logging onto ATO online services.
If an employee does not have an existing super account and does not make a decision regarding a fund, the employer will pay the employee’s superannuation into their nominated default fund.
YourSuper Comparison Tool
A new, interactive, online comparison tool will help members decide which super product best meets their needs. The YourSuper tool will:
Provide a table of simple super products (MySuper) ranked by fees and investment returns.
Link to super fund websites where members can choose a MySuper product.
Show a member’s current super accounts and prompt them to consider consolidating if they have more than one.
Annual Super Fund Performance Test
MySuper products will be subject to an annual performance test.
If a fund is determined to be underperforming, it will need to tell its members of its underperformance by 1 October 2021.
When funds communicate their underperformance to members, they will also be required to provide information about the YourSuper comparison tool.
Underperforming funds will be listed as underperforming on the YourSuper comparison tool until their performance improves.
Funds that fail two consecutive annual underperformance tests will not be permitted to accept new members. These funds will not be able to re-open to new members unless their performance improves.
By 1 July 2022, annual performance tests will be extended to other superannuation products.
New Best Financial Interests Test for Trustees
Trustees will be required to comply with a new duty to act in the best financial interests of members.
Trustees must demonstrate that there was a reasonable basis to support their actions being consistent with members’ best financial interests.
Trustees will provide members with key information regarding how they manage and spend their money in advance of Annual Members’ Meetings.
The Federal Budget did not announce any change to early release arrangements, freezing the SG, or launching an insurance review.
IQ have been full steam ahead in working through the many changes that are happening within the superannuation industry and our clients are well and truly supported by our consultants as we work through the challenges at play whilst in the midst of a global pandemic. Australians deserve a top-class retirement income system and, whilst some changes on the horizon require careful consideration and negotiation in order to ensure better outcomes for all, we are heading in the right direction.
It was International Women’s Day (IWD) this week and my wife and I hosted a dinner over the long weekend. Although we’ve only known our guests for a few short years, the friendship we have built with them is exceptionally strong. The four women in this group have connected so well that it is clear to see that they look out for each other, step in when one of them needs a hand and provide support whenever required.
Now I’m starting to reflect, why is there still a need for a Women’s Day? After all, the first International Women’s Day was first held more than 100 years ago. My colleagues discuss forming a team for the Mother’s Day Classic (sponsored by Women in Super) and I commit to participating. I now need to persuade my family to get up early on the Sunday morning so we can walk/run together. *my fingers are crossed*
Unfortunately, despite all the progress we have made as a society, gender inequality persists, and so the need for IWD remains. I am naturally aware of the challenges women face regarding their superannuation account holdings given my job history however I decide that I should spend a few minutes to learn a little more about this inequality. Coincidentally one of IWD’s ten values is equality.
I read a research article stating that women retire with a super balance 42% less than men on average. Another report quotes 47%. Regardless of the actual figure, the difference is not right. I understand mathematically why this is the case. Proportionally more women work part-time and many of them are not in the workforce to care for family. However, my female friends, family and colleagues are also likely to retire with a lower super balance, often as much as $150,000 less.
What does equality mean though? It’s about ensuring everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of their gender, social-economic background or age. In my research I uncover an interesting publication by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Published annually since 2006, the Global Gender Gap Report reveals that the gap in equality is reducing. It is not only women who benefit from this progress. The entire world economy gains when the talents of all people are able to flourish. The impact this has on families should not be under-estimated.
As Australians we enjoy opportunities and freedoms people in other countries could only imagine. We aren’t world-beaters when it comes to gender equality though. The WEF report found that for eleven years in a row Iceland was the most gender equal country. Interestingly other Scandinavian countries (Norway, Finland and Sweden) round out the top 4. Rather than moving to Norway, what can be done here?
There is no single magical solution, otherwise this problem wouldn’t exist today. WEF’s research forecast that all things being equal, with current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in 99.5 years. If that is an appalling number, consider that the same report estimates that the economic gender gap will take 257 years to be eliminated.
Numerous suggestions are available online recommending ways for women to retire with more money (i.e. spousal contributions, contribution splitting, legislative changes – $450 cap, Low Income Superannuation Tax offset and concessional tax caps). Other suggestions are more generic in nature such as seeking financial advice, accessing online resources and tool, consolidating funds, checking for lost super with the ATO and confirm the right level of insurance within the super policy.
The real gains to be made though relate to bridging the wage gap and retaining women in the workforce. Fortunately, evidence indicates women are increasing their representation in management positions. Similarly, flexible working and access to childcare has resulted in approximately 20% more women return to work after paid parental leave.
Advances in equality are being made very slowly and a single day focusing on the prospects of women will not create a secure financial future for women in retirement. Perhaps the Retirement Income Review Final Report due in June will result in meaningful change. Time will tell.
Over the years, IQ Group has developed a great Graduate Program to kick-start the careers of new graduates and introduce them to the world of superannuation consulting.
With our 2019 Graduate Program well underway, we thought it would be a great opportunity to check in with our team of Graduates, Carmen Yang, Justin Robb and Damien Huynh, to find out what work they are doing and their motivations for joining the program.
Left to Right: Damien, Carmen and Justin.
Q.) How long have you been in the IQ Group Graduate Program?
Damien: Well, Carmen and I have been here for a month.
Carmen: Yeah, just a month.
Justin: I started the last week of January, so I’ve been here almost 2 months now.
Q.) What were you doing before joining the program?
Carmen: I was finishing my master thesis at the University of Auckland prior to coming on board.
Damien: Well I was just watching Netflix – nah I’m joking! I just finished my degree and graduated in December.
Justin: I recently transitioned from a completely different career. I’ve been in teaching for the last several years, and prior to that I was in IT. I’ve been jumping around and trying to figure things out, and I’ve figured out where I want to settle.
Q.) What motivated you to apply?
Damien: I was looking for a job that would give me exposure to different companies. I didn’t want to be stuck with the typical 9-5 job. I wanted to experience something different and to develop problem-solving skills and apply those to the companies that I was working for. IQ Group provided that, which was really good. That was one of the points that made me want to apply.
Justin: So as I mentioned previously, I was working in a different industry for quite a while. I’d been thinking for a while, due to some industry instability, that I wanted to get back into something that was more stable.
After hashing it out with my wife for quite a while, figuring out what I was going to do and how I was going to get there, I ended up meeting with Brian [IQ Group’s CEO] while he was in Sydney in June last year. Brian asked if I’d thought about coming and seeing IQ Group. He explained that the Graduate Program had been completely revamped and was very different from the last time I had worked there. So after looking around at a number of different job boards and workplaces, I found the Graduate Program to be the best fit for me in terms of getting back into the industry. The exposure is huge, as Damien said, and it’s a great way of getting into a lot of different businesses and gaining different skills, experiences and building a really good career foundation for myself.
Carmen: So I had similar career aspirations and knew I wanted to get into consulting. I decided to apply because of the reach of companies and the scope of learning I could do. As Belinda [IQ Group’s Resourcing Manager] was interviewing me, she told me about the various roles that they offer. There are four different streams and there’s a chance to see which of them I like. I was very interested in this because I want to be a jack-of-all trades.
Q.) What work have you been doing as part of the program?
Damien: Our first 4 weeks in, they sent us to [a client] and I was placed in the PMO team, helping out with support. While I’ve been working there, I’ve been attending meetings, taking minutes, shadowing project managers and learning exactly what the process is when starting a new project up to its launch date.
Carmen: I work in the CRM testing platform team. Over the last three weeks I’ve been doing a lot of Salesforce work and testing. What I’ve been doing is helping with [a client] transition and data dictionaries, and helping with Salesforce testing.
Justin: I spent the first week just going through the motions, learning what consulting is, about IQ Group and what we are doing in terms of super and our clients. I have done a lot of LinkedIn Learning to up my skillset, and we’re learning BABOK and RG146 to get qualified for consulting work.
In terms of my client, I started off there doing a little bit of admin and backlog clearing. There’s a lot of the clients user documentation that needed cleaning quite urgently.
And recently I’ve jumped on a new project that’s started up in the last couple of months with Pam and her team. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been doing a lot of data mapping work. Due to the ramifications of what we do, I can’t say too much about it, but I’ve been quite heavily involved with the project manager, product managers, lead [Business Analyst’s] (BA’s) and people at all levels in order to generate this program.It’s been great being an integral part of a key project for our client and helping them to deliver a new product to their clients. While it’s been a challenge to step up to the responsibility this early, I’m really enjoying it.
Q.) What have been the highlights of working with IQ Group?
Damien: The highlight for me has been just being able to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a consultant. This years’ graduates were fortunate to engage with clients very early. I think the method IQ Group has adopted enabled us to get an early preview of what we should be expecting. And the people are really nice, which is really important; especially when you’re looking at the kind of company you want to work for.
Carmen: For me it’s similar. The thing I’ve enjoyed the most has been getting hands-on with the client-facing roles. Getting to know the ins and outs of IQ Group and the client early on has been really rewarding. Another thing that I’ve enjoyed has been the support we’ve been given from the IQ staff every time. Especially my team leader, Steven, and the support and guidance he has been giving us since we got here has been really helpful. The people and the culture have been really nice.
Justin: When I was looking at making my career change, the thing that I really wanted to get into was BA work. I was looking into what BA’s do and the skillsets required, and I thought this is something that’s right up my alley and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
When I was doing my initial interview with Pam, I explained BA experience is what I’m after, and she said being a BA is what she does and that’s the type of work I would get. It’s been pretty awesome to jump straight into work, get all of that down and start applying some of it at the client sites and to know that the pathway is there.
It’s great to know that I have goals in place to get to where I want in future, and that there are people who have already done it supporting me to get there. They know exactly what to do and can answer pretty much anything I come up with in terms of a struggle or problem. It’s really good to know that there is that support in place.
Anyone who starts a Graduate Program has probably just finished a whole bunch of study and to then be told ‘well, now that you’re working, you’re going to spend another 2 or 3 months studying some more’ isn’t really what they want to hear. Being able to get onto the client site straight away is definitely a bonus. Learning hands-on is very useful for both the company and ourselves.