This Is Why Two Labor Appointees Have Been Removed From A Superannuation Default Fund Review

Employment Minister Eric Abetz. Photo: Getty

Two members of an expert panel in the middle of deciding which superannuation funds can be default funds have been stood aside over the potential for a conflict of interest.

This puts a question over the timetable to decide which funds should be default, those where payments automatically go to if members haven’t make a decision on how to invest.

For a superannuation fund, being an authorised default fund is critical because that’s where the bulk of member funds end up – about $10 billion in annual contributions from workers covered by awards.

Vicki Allen and Stephen Gibbs, both appointed by the former Labor government to the Work Fair Commission’s review, have both been stood aside on a potential conflict of interest.

Commission chairman Justice Iain Ross says Allen is a trustee of the MTAA Superannuation Fund and Gibbs is a director of Australian Ethical Superannuation.

Both the experts could, during the review process, receive commercially sensitive information about competitors to the funds they were directors of.

Employment minister Eric Abetz, answering a question in the Senate, said the three part-time expert panel members, including Gibbs and Allen, were being paid $920 a day.

Abetz made it clear he didn’t support the appointees who were appointed by the current Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

The remaining member of the three-member expert panel is Arthur Apted who has told the commission he is not a director or trustee of a superannuation fund.

Default funds are reviewed every four years under the terms of the Fair Work Act.

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