AIST calls out Govt for delaying Choice product dashboards

Choice funds will not need their own product dashboards in place until 2027, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), a substantial delay to the previous deadline of 2023.

The Cooper Inquiry recommended product dashboards in 2010 and default fund trustees had been required to use them since 2013.

Speaking on the AIST website, senior policy manager, David Haynes, said the move to delay the need for product dashboards, foreshadowed in an Australian Securities and Investments Commission consultation paper in February, went against the need for transparency and disclosure in superannuation.

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“All types of products need to be held to the same high standard because, after all, all products have the common purpose of funding people’s retirement,” he said.

“The scrutiny of the Government over a long period of time has been on MySuper products, and that’s a good thing.  Because they are default products, there needs to be special care paid to ensuring that those products are doing the right things by their members.”

Haynes said product dashboards were needed as research had shown that just 55% of Australian adults were financially literate with a lot of people having been advised into products before the need for financial advisers to act in their client’s best financial interests.

The product dashboard regime for Choice products was originally scheduled to begin in 2014, but had been subject to deferrals.

An ASIC discussion paper said the deferral had been proposed “to allow time for successive Governments to make the choice product dashboard regulations. This is because, without regulations to prescribe their content, the Corporations Act obligations relating to choice product dashboards cannot operate effectively”.

Haynes said: “Moving the Choice dashboard deadline to 2027 – five years from now – is not good enough, and AIST will certainly be pushing for it to remain in 2023.

“But being realistic, it’s probably pointless for ASIC to keep expecting that the regulations are going come any time soon, and it would be a waste of ASIC’s time to go through the rigmarole of getting ready for Choice product dashboards, only to have only to have to defer it again when no regulations are forthcoming.”

Haynes said he was concerned the Government would say that the new performance assessments of trustee-directed choice products meant there would be no need for Choice product dashboards.

“In effect, that would mean the Government is saying ‘there’s increased transparency for 700 Choice products, so let’s sweep under the carpet increased transparency and disclosure in relation to thousands of other products, many of which are closed.

“The Government says it is committed to transparency and accountability, and the product dashboards are a useful and important tool in the service of that.  Sadly, when it comes to Choice product dashboards, the Government has been the obstacle since the beginning, and that continues to be the case.”

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