Default fund selection vital for consumer protection

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed the digitisation of superannuation choice forms, which will allow consumers to see a list of their existing superannuation accounts or select their employers’ default fund, but stressed that important consumer protections might be overlooked as part of the process.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) project, which would be expected to benefit both employers and employees, would also allow employers to collect employees’ superannuation account preferences online.

With 45 per cent of Australians having more than one super account, the process would also be expected to help reduce the multiple account issue.

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AIST’s chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck, said: “This project consolidates paperwork for employers and makes it easier for them to ensure that they have collected all the information necessary to pay their superannuation obligations”.

“It’s a vital step to moving superannuation administration into the 21st century,” she said.

However, she stressed that the AIST was disappointed that the ATO did not manage to pre-populate the form to list the name of the employees’ default fund.

According to AIST, the default fund selection process is a vital consumer protection.

“We hope that the ATO will look for a genuine solution for naming the default fund in the online form that will result in more informed consumers.

“With such a large number of consumers relying on the default fund selection process, it’s important that they know where their retirement money is going,” she said.

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