AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Sunsuper and REST have all received over 100,000 early superannuation payments from members suffering financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data.
Data from the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority (APRA) ending 3 May, 2020, showed AustralianSuper had 142,475 applications, Hostplus had 127,409, Sunsuper had 111,103, and REST had 106,441.
However, Sunsuper had paid the most amount of applications at 108,280 for a total of $784,785,368. This was followed by AustralianSuper paying 99,350 members for a total of $763,656,262, Hostplus paid 99,350 members for a total of $661,94,799, and REST paid 93,731 members for a total of $584,293,806.
Sunsuper was also the fastest at paying members with 100% of members being paid within five business days. This was followed by 99.8% from Hostplus, 99.1% from REST, and 98.9% from AustralianSuper.
Overall, the data also showed that 142 out of 177 funds that submitted data made early release payments.
“Of all of the funds that have submitted, 117 (82%) made more than 90% of payments within the five business days guideline indicated by APRA,” APRA said.
“That includes 57 funds that have made all payments within five business days, 24 that paid 99% within that timeframe, and another 18 funds that paid 98% within five business days.
“Further, with very few exceptions, all payments to members have been made within 10 business days from receipt of applications from the Australian Taxation Office [ATO].”
APRA deputy chair Helen Rowell said: “These figures demonstrate superannuation trustees understand the importance of getting payments as quickly as possible to members who may be enduring financial hardship.
“This is a new scheme, and some funds have received tens of thousands of applications, so an average payment time so far of 3.1 days following receipt of applications from the ATO is a positive story.
“We recognise, however, that it may be both necessary and appropriate for trustees to take longer in some cases. This is no doubt frustrating to those awaiting payments, but the recent attempted fraud being investigated by the Australian Federal Police emphasises that care is needed to ensure payments go to the right people.”
The 3.1 day average payment time is an increased revision of the previous figure of 1.6 days APRA published last week.
APRA noted that in addition to concerns about possible fraud, other reasons that payments may take longer than five business days included:
- Incomplete information provided by the ATO;
- Application errors by members that require clarification;
- Verification of mismatches between member information provided by the ATO and that held by the fund; and
- Defined benefits members whose applications require additional processing.