The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has identified fund performance and fees as one of the most important themes for super funds’ members during its review of the first round of annual members’ meetings.
The regulator surveyed the superannuation fund’s annual members’ meeting at a mix of industry, retail, corporate and public sector funds
Upon reviewing the meetings and based on the questions asked, ASIC noted the most important themes for super fund members also included cybercrimes, environmental, social and governance considerations (ESG), impact of COVID-19 and the superannuation guarantee.
The regulator advised that annual members’ meetings were an “important opportunity for trustees to engage with their members about key aspects of their fund and improve transparency”.
Based on the findings, it singled out three examples of good practice to enhance member experience which were providing clear information on how to submit questions, sharing Q&A with fund membership and providing a video recording of the meeting.
- Providing clear information to members on how to submit questions prior to and during the meeting. Under the law, trustees are required to give members reasonable opportunities to ask questions at the annual members’ meeting. Providing information about the process involved, including through meeting materials and on the fund’s website, will help give members the confidence to ask questions;
- Sharing Q&A with the broader membership of the fund. ASIC notes that it is helpful when trustees capture answers to all questions asked at the annual members’ meeting in a separate document and post it alongside the meeting minutes on the fund website. This gives all members, even if they did not attend the meeting, further insights into their fund.
- Providing a video recording of the meeting. Making a video recording available, in addition to the minutes required to be provided, and notifying members of the ability to access this (e.g. through alternate communication channels such as e-newsletters or social media) increases the benefits of holding the meeting for the fund membership.
The findings were based on a surveillance of the inaugural meetings held by trustees for a selection of superannuation funds between October 2020 to March 2021.