The validity of a panel set up to examine where Australian retirement savings go has been challenged by an industry group two weeks before applications to be included as a default option in industrial awards close, according to The Australian.
The head of the Financial Services Council, which is a lobby group representing the interests of retail super funds predominantly owned by Australia’s big banks, has written to the Fair Work Commission, and said its panel does not comply with the legislation that set it up, and cannot proceed with its review.
Industry superannuation funds have dominated the default fund market in the past, and the FSC wants to get a bigger slice of the huge pie for its members. According to The Australian’s report, the letter foreshadows possible legal action in the future.
The challenge to the current setup of the review comes after two of its members, Vicki Allen and Stephen Gibbs, were removed last month by Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross because they were super fund directors and could face conflicts of interest.
They were replaced by economist Tim Harcourt, and the FSC has argued this leaves the commission short of the legislated three people required for a review. A Fair Work spokesperson said the request was “under consideration”.
The government has blamed Labor, with Employment Minister Eric Abetz accusing then-workplace relations minister, and now Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of stacking the panel when he appointed Allan and Gibbs, just before the election.
There’s more here.
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