Grilling, basting or wet lettuce?

If the opening day of the Royal Commission’s hearings into the superannuation sector were any guide, then most industry funds could afford to breathe just a little easier.

While a number of industry participants appeared to be drooling in anticipation of certain superannuation fund executives being unmercifully grilled by counsel assisting the Royal Commission the early signs were that the expected “grilling” was more likely to be just a solid “basting”.

You see, counsel assisting the Commission, Michael Hodge QC made the point in his opening remarks that on the basis of the statements and evidence collected to that stage, it seemed industry funds appeared less exposed than their retail fund counterparts.

But lest industry fund executives were tempted to relax too soon, Hodge did go on to cite a number of other issues which would be traversed during the two-week hearing, not least industry funds advertising and in particular the so-called “fox in the henhouse” advertising campaign.

Rollover suspects the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority may be paying fairly close attention to how the Royal Commission handles the question of whether the advertising breaches the sole purpose test, given the regulator’s track-record on that particular issue.

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