Submissions highlighted a range of concerns about the conduct of RSEs, banks, and financial advisers with which they had dealings relating to their superannuation. Over 150 different financial services entities were mentioned in the 1,626 submissions that were received.
Notably, a number of public submissions on superannuation also indicated other related dealings with the financial services entity. Of the 1,626 submissions on superannuation, over 340 also related to financial advice, and over 270 related to life insurance associated with a superannuation account.
In addition to individual submissions, the Commission also received submissions from interested groups such as the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia; the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors; the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees; the Financial Services Council; the Financial Services Institute of Australasia; and the Responsible Investment Association of Australia. The Commission also received information from consumer bodies which assist consumers in relation to their dealings with superannuation entities, including the Consumer Action Law Centre and CHOICE. The Commission also consulted with officers from ASIC, APRA and the Productivity Commission.
Submissions raised concerns about the impact of fees for add-on financial services such as life insurance or financial advice, which had reduced the balance of their superannuation, or in some cases left the person with a zero balance in their account. A number of submissions mentioned the fund member’s frustration with contacting their superannuation fund (and delays which often followed) if they sought to switch funds; tried to obtain additional information; or queried fees associated with their fund.
Fund members often raised concerns about the complexity of their superannuation accounts, and in many cases, indicated that they were unaware they were subject to additional fees or were being charged fees without receiving any service in return. Many submissions received were from individuals who had retired, or were close to retirement and who were concerned about their financial security. Others felt embarrassed that they lacked the financial literacy skills and/or had misplaced their trust in a particular superannuation fund.
A number of submissions also raised concerns about conduct by Commonwealth, state or territory superannuation entities. These entities either did not fall within the definition of a financial services entity under the Commission’s Terms of Reference, or were not entities of focus for the Commission.