ASIC asserts its reach into superannuation

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has sent superannuation fund trustees a clear reminder of its increased power to deal with superannuation issues after 30 June, this year, including the requirement for all superannuation fund trustees to hold an Australian Financial Services License.

In a commentary published to coincide with the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia national conference, ASIC said it had written to all superannuation fund trustees to explain the changes and was currently updating its public record for the licenses.

“Non-public offer fund trustees will no longer be exempt from holding an AFS [Australian financial services] licence to deal in financial products, and will need to apply for an AFS licence to deal in superannuation and provide a superannuation trustee service,” it said. “We encourage all trustees of non-public offer funds that need to apply to ASIC for an AFS licence (or to vary their existing AFS licence) to do so by 30 April, 2021, at the latest.”

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ASIC said that the new powers filled gaps in its existing jurisdiction and would ensure that conduct obligations in the Corporations Act – including the need to act efficiently, honestly and fairly – apply to trustee activities relating to operating a superannuation fund.

“This means that ASIC will have a greater ability to scrutinise trustees, including how trustees oversee service providers, how they design and review their compliance systems, and how they handle insurance claims,” it said.

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