Two BT Funds Management superannuation funds have been placed at the top of the charts when it comes to slow early access to superannuation scheme payments, according to Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) data.
Until 10 May, 2020, the data 98% of BT’s Advance Retirement Suite’s applications, it took the fund between six to nine business days to pay eligible members.
This was followed by Mercer Superannuation’s Mercer Portfolio Service Superannuation Plan at 80%, Intrust Super Fund at 55.5%, BT’s Asgard Independence Plan Division Two at 53.4%, and Retirement Benefits Fund at 50.5%.
When it came to applications paid in 10 or more business days, it was SAS Trustee Corporation Pooled Fund at 60%, Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund at 52.3%, Retirement Benefits Fund at 35.2%, LifeFocus Superannuation at 30.8%, and Ultimate Superannuation Fund at 16.7%.
BT’s Asgard Independence Plan Division Two again made the top 10 slowest in this category in eighth place at 8.6%.
Commenting, a BT spokesperson said that Advance and Asgard funds made up less than 10% of early access to super requests. APRA data showed there were 93 Advance applications and 5,805 Asgard applications.
"For certain types of products, when a member seeks to withdraw their funds from their super account we are required to sell down the investments from the account in line with the investments held which can take some time if it isn’t held in cash, this is particularly true for our platform customers such as Asgard and Advance," the spokesperson said.
"We also need to go through the relevant security procedure to verify the payment and the request to protect our members’ super."
They noted that approximately 85% of requests BT received to date were from members in its MySuper products - BT Super and BT Super for Life "which we are able to process very quickly".
"For Choice or platform members, who have opted to invest in specific funds or asset classes, this can take longer due to redemption requirements," they said.
"Our total processing time across all our funds has accelerated since then as the process is refined. Across all our products we are processing close to 90% of requests within the five days."
In a statement to Super Review on its payment process, State Super (SAS) said: "As a defined benefit fund, State Super was not required to participate in the COVID-19 early release payments. Nevertheless, State Super voluntarily decided to support their members, even though this required finding solutions to constraints in the State Super Scheme legislation. One of these requirements is that members need to provide a written consent to allow for an early release payment and as result this has the unavoidable effect of adding time to the process".
The data also found that superannuation funds with the largest amount of early access to super scheme applications have rejected between 0.9% to 2.1% of applications.
Until 10 May, 2020, the data found that AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Sunsuper, and REST were still the funds with the highest amount of applications for the scheme, along with CBUS.
The data showed that ‘closed’ applications accounted for 1.6% of AustralianSuper applications, 1% for Hostplus, 2.1% for Sunsuper, 1.9% for REST, and 0.9% for CBUS.
Overall, 1.3% of all early access to super scheme applications had been ‘closed’.
Applications were classified as ‘closed’ if it was unable to be processed by the registrable superannuation entity (RSE) either due to fraud flags, insufficient details in the file provided by the Australian Tax Office, or other issues that identified the source or destination of the payment.
Since the previous data was released all these funds, except Sunsuper, had more applications that took over five days to process.
Number of applications received
Applications paid within five business days
Proportion of applications paid
Proposition of applications closed
Proportion of applications in process
The APRA data for the overall time it took for payments to be received overall also went up to 3.3 days, from the prior reading of 3.1 days. Over 88% of applications had been paid, 10.3% were ‘in process’, and 1.3% were ‘closed’.
On the other end of the scale, 100% of 26 Northern Territory Supplementary Super Scheme applications had been ‘closed’.
This was followed by 27.3% of 11 CSS Fund applications, 14.3% of 14 Incitec Pivot Employees Superannuation Fund applications, 12% of 25 Lifefocus Superannuation fund applications, and 10.9% of 377 Westpac Mastertrust – Superannuation Division applications.
The early access to super scheme was for members who were suffering financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.