ASIC releases consult on super calculator/retirement estimate relief

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is seeking feedback on consultation for proposed updates to relief and guidance for superannuation calculations and retirement forecasting tools.

ASIC released Consultation Paper 351 (CP 351) ‘Superannuation forecasts: Update to superannuation calculators and estimates relief’ on super calculators and retirement estimates which were low-cost forecasting tools that were intended to be a helpful prompt for consumers to review their financial situation, and if appropriate, seek further information or financial advice.

Entities such as superannuation trustees that provided these forecasting tools to consumers within the terms of ASIC’s relief were exempt from certain licensing and disclosure requirements associated with providing personal financial advice.

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Super calculators and retirement estimates may involve personal financial advice and ASIC currently gave class order relief from the Australian financial services (AFS) licensing and personal advice requirements in the Corporations Act 2001 through ASIC (Generic Calculators) Instrument 2016/207 for financial calculators and ASIC Class Order for retirement estimates.

Under ASIC’s current relief, a financial calculator, including a super calculator, may be provided by any person, but a retirement estimate may only be provided by a superannuation trustee.

ASIC proposed to:

  • Continue providing longstanding relief from personal financial advice requirements for people who provide super calculators and for super trustees who provided retirement estimates to their members;
  • Adopt a single framework for how calculators and retirement estimates may be provided under ASIC’s relief, which would require trustees to have greater consistency between the assumptions used across their retirement estimates and super calculators;
  • Set standard assumptions for retirement ages and inflation rates that must be used as the defaults, to foster consistency across the industry; and
  • Give greater flexibility to trustees to tailor forecasts based on their members’ investment strategies.

Danielle Press, ASIC commissioner said, super calculators and retirement estimates helped consumers think ahead about what role their super could play in their retirement income.

“ASIC’s proposals provide trustees with forecasting tools for members that can be helpful in implementing a retirement income strategy under the Government’s proposed retirement income covenant,” Press said.

“We want to hear from stakeholders about how our relief can best facilitate industry’s appropriate provision of tools that help super fund members to think about retirement income.

“We would welcome recent evidence on how calculators and estimates have influenced consumer outcomes in practice to help ASIC ensure our proposed relief is fit for purpose.

“ASIC is inviting feedback on CP 351 from industry participants, consumer groups, actuaries and other interested stakeholders. ASIC will consider the response and issue a feedback report outlining final positions.”

Submissions to CP 351 were due by 28 January, 2022, and ASIC intended to publish the updated instruments and guidance before the existing relief in ASIC Class Order sunsets on 1 April, 2022.

In finalising the relief for super forecasts, ASIC would consider the requirements in the retirement income covenant legislation when it passes Parliament.

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