It’s time to ensure better governance supports the $2 trillion in funds managed by the superannuation industry and now is the time to rally support for the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Governance) Bill 2015 introduced into the House of Representatives last week.

Applauding the Bill which proposes to address much needed significant and far reaching changes to the structure of the superannuation industry in Australia, National Head of Financial Services, Grant Thornton Australia’s Madeleine Mattera believes board diversity and a mix of skills is key to meeting the challenges of the future.

“The governance debate has gone on for some time and the status quo does not seem to be a sustainable option. Perceptions exist about conflicts of interest and skill levels for member appointed vs employer appointed directors on both sides of the ideological fence.

“The superannuation governance system hasn’t evolved since its inception in 1992; however the funds accumulated over the last 23 years have significantly grown, leaving the current model outdated.

“Many superannuation funds today are sizeable businesses in their own right. The sheer scale of funds being managed by the superannuation industry demands an appropriate governance model. 

“The time is now to create a level playing field approach. Mandatory independence on boards brings diversity and skills. Special treatment afforded by continuation of the equal representation model in essence can inhibit growth and leave them ill equipped to cope with changing market conditions

“Boards should be composed of appropriate directors who meet the “Fit & Proper” requirements imposed by the financial institutions regulator, APRA, with a diverse skill set that reflects the needs of a modern superannuation fund including risk management, legal, compliance and governance, IT & digital, mergers and acquisitions, investment, infrastructure, marketing, member engagement, human resources & talent management, superannuation, global perspectives, intergenerational aspects, and change management.

“Mid-size businesses employ around 3.7 million Australians and contribute 9.5% superannuation guarantee for their workers, this Bill provides mid-size businesses with a framework that instils more confidence that their workers’ funds are managed by the best people.

“Consumers must be afforded the highest level of protection of their investment through a regulatory system that is up to the task.

-ends-

Helina Lilley, National Public Relations Manager T  +61 2 8297 2421 M  0437 725 520 E helina.lilley@au.gt.com