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Super funds must assess performance better, says APRA official

APRA, Helen Rowell, superannuation, super funds, Australian superannuation, retirement savings, retirement planning, retirement management, wealth management,

Many Australian superannuation funds aren’t doing enough to assess whether their services meet the best interests of their members, one of APRA’s senior staff told delegates at an industry conference.

Helen Rowell, the prudential regulator’s deputy chair, told guests at the Financial Services Council’s 2017 Leaders’ Summit that there were gaps between what many funds thought was in their members’ best interests and what actually was.

One way super funds can combat this, she said, is to start viewing themselves as financial services businesses and developing a proactive business plan, rather than being reactive.

"We have that aggressive focus on strategic business planning because that's the starting point," she said.

“You need to have clear objectives, clear goals, a clear path forward and monitor progress along that if you're going to be successful as a business.”

Ms Rowell said she had "no doubt" that the directors of super funds genuinely believed they were acting in the best interests of their members, but many are likely to find they’re not delivering the outcomes they hoped to.

“We're not seeing the concrete evidence of how trustees are turning their minds to that and translating that into an objective assessment,” Ms Rowell said.

While APRA wants to see super funds develop their own thorough measures to assess whether they’re achieving the best outcomes for their members, Ms Rowell cautioned that the regulator would consider forcing funds to merge if they weren’t meeting the regulator’s expectations regarding the best interest duty.

Super funds must assess performance better, says APRA official
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