Industry being choked by regulatory over-reach

The superannuation industry is being subjected to the distraction of regulatory over-reach, according to the independent chairman of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), Michael Easson.

Addressing the opening plenary of the ASFA conference in Sydney, Easson pointed to the manner in which the increasing burden of regulation was serving to distract superannuation funds from their core purpose and the level of further change that was currently on the horizon.

Describing regulatory over-reach as the elephant in the room, the ASFA chairman said its impacts needed to be appropriately recognised.

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He warned the industry was being strangled by red tape and this represented one of the greatest systemic risks it faced.

“For example, we have the Productivity Commission looking at efficiency and effectiveness after looking at default. RG 97 has been deferred again. APRA now want tremendous detail on performance. There are five Superannuation Bills before the parliament and more to come,” Easson said

“This is not to complain about the necessary regulation to ensure high standards by the excellent people at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and others,” he said.  “Prudential standards must focus on stability. It is one reason we rank highly.   Getting the appropriate balance is the issue.”

Easson said what needed to be recognised about the superannuation industry was that there was much it was getting right, albeit there was room for improvement.

He said it was in these circumstances the industry needed to defend itself and back itself with facts

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