Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Superannuation

Analysis and Comment (48)

Despite the fact that Australians are getting wealthier, financial literacy is not increasing at the same rate. Despite the fact that Australians are getting wealthier, financial literacy is not increasing at the same rate. shutterstock

Millions of households are missing out on good financial planning

The wealth profile of Australian households has changed phenomenally over the past 25 years, according to a recent paper from the Australian Centre for Financial Studies. Thanks to increases in asset prices…
Superannuation shouldn’t be one size fits all. Superannuation shouldn’t be one size fits all. Shutterstock

Go ahead, ignore your super, but let’s debate default funds

After a lot of un-edifying debate about particular proposals about financial advice we can now stand back and look at the sector with more calm. The fundamental problem is that it is very hard to give…
House prices in New Zealand continue their upwards march. House prices in New Zealand continue their upwards march. Flimin/Flickr

Tapping super for a house deposit unlikely to boost affordability

Independent Australian Senator Nick Xenophon is planning a legislative push for first home buyers to be able to access their superannuation savings to pay for a house deposit, mirroring a similar policy…
The emphasis on the lump sum in superannuation unfairly moves risk to individuals. The emphasis on the lump sum in superannuation unfairly moves risk to individuals. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Superannuation: make income the outcome

Having led the world in the 1990s in embracing defined contribution retirement plans, Australia now is rightly reviewing whether the design of its retirement income system is meeting the needs of Australians…
The focus is shifting to how Australians access their super to fund retirement. The focus is shifting to how Australians access their super to fund retirement. Wendy House/Flickr

Turning super into income: inquiry opens retirement funding debate

A good proportion of the Financial System Inquiry’s 460-page interim report is dedicated to a discussion of superannuation and, in particular, to making the financial system better at facilitating the…
Australia’s massive superannuation sector is costly compared with its global counterparts. Australia’s massive superannuation sector is costly compared with its global counterparts. Joel Carrett/AAP

Financial system inquiry sets sights on super: experts react

Australia’s financial system is competitive and well regulated, but more work is required to boost superannuation competition, according to the interim report of the Financial System Inquiry, led by former…
Conflicts abound in Australia’s financial system. Conflicts abound in Australia’s financial system. Dan Peled/AAP

Three financial system flaws David Murray can’t ignore

At the current frequency of financial system inquiries (Campbell 1982, Wallis 1997, Murray 2014) there will not be another until 2030. That makes this week’s interim report from David Murray all the more…
Friend to the battlers: Clive Palmer says he’ll oppose the repeal of a superannuation top up scheme for low incomes earners. Friend to the battlers: Clive Palmer says he’ll oppose the repeal of a superannuation top up scheme for low incomes earners. AAP/Alan Porritt

Clive Palmer, the unlikely friend of low income earners

The low income superannuation contribution is rapidly becoming a case study in the perils of linking unrelated policy initiatives. The scheme, a federal government contribution of up to $500 to people…
New Zealand’s opposition party has a long road to tread to support its case for compulsory super. New Zealand’s opposition party has a long road to tread to support its case for compulsory super. Trey Ratcliffe/Flickr

New Zealand wants to copy our super: here’s why it’s a bad idea

Australians and New Zealanders have a healthy rivalry about who follows who. Both countries claim as their own Pavlova, Crowded House and Phar Lap. To this list might soon be added compulsory superannuation…
When Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey present policies as if they are not choices, we should be sceptical. What choices has the government rejected? When Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey present policies as if they are not choices, we should be sceptical. What choices has the government rejected? Daniel Munoz/AAP

A fiscal crisis? It’s about political priorities and neglected choices

As the 2014-15 budget nears, Australians are hearing that the government must mount an urgent repair job to address the looming structural crisis that will see the budget in deficit for decades to come…
Women are often left behind in the super stakes. Women are often left behind in the super stakes. Kicki/Flickr

Superannuation sharing can help bridge the gender divide

Anyone who has been married knows there is a lot of compromise involved. Each party gives up something in order to get the benefits which can arise from sharing. Nobody get exactly what he or she wants…
Older workers are already working longer; but the debate around paying for the Age Pension has only just begun. Older workers are already working longer; but the debate around paying for the Age Pension has only just begun. Eric Yen/Flickr

Age Pension debate makes clear: adequate super is pivotal

Talk about increasing the Age Pension eligibility age to 70 has generated a lot of anxiety and indignation. What seems to be going unnoticed in all the hype is that we have just experienced a round of…
Having enough money for retirement will take more super contributions than most Australians are making. Having enough money for retirement will take more super contributions than most Australians are making. Shutterstock

Why Australians don’t make extra super contributions

Australians are increasingly relying on superannuation for their retirement income, but despite more than 20 years of compulsory super, many people are not retiring with enough. The assets under management…
From July, the ATO will be able to levy new fines on self-managed superannuation fund trustees. From July, the ATO will be able to levy new fines on self-managed superannuation fund trustees. Shutterstock

Taxing times for self-managed super funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) are the fastest growing sector of the superannuation industry, spiking by 33% between 2008 and 2012, putting them in the sights of both the super industry and…
Superannuation: you give, they take. Superannuation: you give, they take. Paul Kelly/Flickr

Superannuation is too costly, so bill me

The main reason superannuation costs are too high in Australia is both simple and horrendously complex: it’s the only service we buy where we give the service provider our money to look after. It’s true…
Consumers generally trust their financial adviser, even when the level of advice is poor. Consumers generally trust their financial adviser, even when the level of advice is poor. Shutterstock

The future of financial advice needs educated advisers

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s decision to back away from plans to repeal sections of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms is not surprising. Recent comments suggest this may indeed be a complete…
Retirement incomes will leave many short, especially single people. Retirement incomes will leave many short, especially single people. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

The majority of Australians are not saving enough for retirement

Only 53% of couples and 22% of single people are on track to achieve a comfortable level of retirement income, according to an in-depth study of the adequacy of retirement savings. The outcome of a collaboration…
Stronger rules introduced to protect those seeking financial advice by the last government could be rolled back by the Abbott government. Stronger rules introduced to protect those seeking financial advice by the last government could be rolled back by the Abbott government. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Coalition’s FOFA ‘streamlining’ will destroy protections

Every employed Australian will enter the financial markets through their superannuation, meaning most Australians will need financial advice at some point in their life. Research shows most people lack…
New research highlights the informed nature of buy-sell-buy trades. New research highlights the informed nature of buy-sell-buy trades. Publik16/Flickr

In defence of active fund managers

Australian investors and superannuation funds have invested hundreds of billions of their life savings with active fund managers. These funds have very high fees compared with index funds to cover not…
Part of the nest egg of Australian superannuation funds is now being invested in a media startup. Part of the nest egg of Australian superannuation funds is now being invested in a media startup. indi.ca/Flickr

Not my super! Aussie super funds take media gamble with New Daily

In a controversial move, affiliates of the Industry Super Funds network (AustralianSuper, Cbus and Industry Super Holdings) have spent a combined A$3 million of member funds on an online news website…
Investment in the Indigenous art market has a direct and traceable human impact. Investment in the Indigenous art market has a direct and traceable human impact. AAP Image/National Museum of Australia, Tim Acker

How super laws are killing the market for Indigenous art

Ownership, investment and art have never been entirely comfortable bedfellows. Recently, an email began to circulate among artists, gallery directors and art investors, asking recipients to lobby the Abbott…
Education Minister Christopher Pyne has flagged the possibility of selling off Australia’s HECS debt to help raise funds for the government. Education Minister Christopher Pyne has flagged the possibility of selling off Australia’s HECS debt to help raise funds for the government. Alan Porritt/AAP

Selling off the HECS debt could be a super solution

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has confirmed the government is considering securitising Australia’s HECS debt, and has referred the issue to the Commission of Audit. This has immediately attracted…
Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played? Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played?

Are SMSFs inflating a property bubble?

Self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) have come under criticism from regulators amid concerns that the sector is over-investing in the residential property sector. The profession has hit back at the…
Does Labor’s most recent attack ad pass the truth test? Does Labor’s most recent attack ad pass the truth test? Labor Party

FactCheck: Labor’s ‘If Abbott wins, you lose’ attack ad

Election FactCheck is checking key claims in political advertisements. Here we look at the “If Tony Abbott Wins, You Lose” ad from Labor. Families will lose the Schoolkids Bonus The Coalition has made…
There are any many reasons why someone might choose to sell assets after moving into retirement, none of which involve tax avoidance. There are any many reasons why someone might choose to sell assets after moving into retirement, none of which involve tax avoidance. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Is selling assets on retirement tax avoidance? Not so fast

Trustees of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) may have caught their breath this week when they read that the Australian Taxation Office had its eye on capital gains that were going tax-free once…
The market power of banks in funding will be challenged by the rise of super funds. The market power of banks in funding will be challenged by the rise of super funds. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Rise of super funds will shape Australia’s financial sector

How will the shape of Australia’s financial sector evolve over the coming decades? How will the demand for finance change? Where will the supply of funds come from? Can we be confident that available funds…
Smaller piece of the pie: low income workers will suffer under a Coalition pledge to discontinue a superannuation top-up scheme directed at those earning less than $37,000 a year. Smaller piece of the pie: low income workers will suffer under a Coalition pledge to discontinue a superannuation top-up scheme directed at those earning less than $37,000 a year.

Abbott is not playing fair – Removing super contribution will hurt working poor

Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s budget reply pledge to discontinue the Low Income Earners Superannuation Contribution (LISC) will hit the retirement savings of thousands of low-paid Australian workers…
Tony Abbott’s budget reply was a considered economic strategy amid fiscally challenging times for Australia. Tony Abbott’s budget reply was a considered economic strategy amid fiscally challenging times for Australia.

Strong rhetoric underpins Abbott’s budget strategy

In last night’s budget reply, Tony Abbott crowed he will “put the house back in order” and that the “budget will be in better hands under a Coalition government than under Labor”. It was a very measured…
The way it ends… from the mining tax to super reform and now the Gonski plan, Labor has surrendered to sectional interests. The way it ends… from the mining tax to super reform and now the Gonski plan, Labor has surrendered to sectional interests. AAP/Alan Porritt

Labor’s super tax backdown hints at the party’s hollow core

This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. TS Eliot, The Hollow Men The Labor government’s attack on universities to fund…
The Gillard government’s changes to the tax treatment of superannuation make for a more complex system, rather than a more equitable one. The Gillard government’s changes to the tax treatment of superannuation make for a more complex system, rather than a more equitable one. AAP

Illogical tax tinkering won’t lead to a sustainable super system

Today, the Australian government announced additional taxation of high income funds in the decumulation or retirement stage of investments in superannuation. Arguably, the changes add more to complexity…
If the “spirit of reform” is behind any attempts to reform superannuation, why is this potentially being dropped on Australians on budget night? If the “spirit of reform” is behind any attempts to reform superannuation, why is this potentially being dropped on Australians on budget night?

Unfair, but for the greater good - where is Labor going with super?

The biggest retirement reform since the age pension, compulsory superannuation is one of the ALP’s greatest achievements. Before it was introduced, as part of the Hawke Government’s Accord with the union…
Bill Shorten aims to tackle disproportionate superannuation concessions. Bill Shorten aims to tackle disproportionate superannuation concessions. AAP/Dave Hunt

Richest Australians to take super hit

Next month’s federal budget will hit the generous superannuation tax breaks received by the very richest Australians. The target will be the highest one to two per cent of earners, with the government…
Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan face a significant challenge if they plan to change superannuation. Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan face a significant challenge if they plan to change superannuation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Labor’s super dilemma

Julia Gillard hardly had time for some deep breathing after the cyclone of last week, before her government was hit by fresh buffeting winds. A new round of speculation that the budget would hit superannuation…
A proportion of investors want to avoid controversial asset classes - but would it pay off? A proportion of investors want to avoid controversial asset classes - but would it pay off?

Can super investors really bank on ethical investment?

One quarter of Australians would be willing to switch superannuation funds to avoid investing in coal or coal seam gas, according to a recent survey. Not only does this research raise important questions…
Super funds could fund research initiatives as well as provide good returns to fund members. Super funds could fund research initiatives as well as provide good returns to fund members. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Super funds: an investment vehicle for scientific research?

Can the growing stash of super savings be used productively to fund valuable bio-science and other R&D while still generating good returns for fund members? Such research is typically high risk, but…
The current super debate overrides any serious focus on how women carers are disadvantaged and the adequacy of the age pension. The current super debate overrides any serious focus on how women carers are disadvantaged and the adequacy of the age pension. AAP

Who is damaged by the current superannuation system?

Media stories about possible changes to superannuation tax concessions generally focus on the “dangers” of reducing the unfair benefits of better off super contributors. Most stories come from financial…
Fairness test: the Federal government has targeted the earnings of single parents while supporting wealthy superannuants. Fairness test: the Federal government has targeted the earnings of single parents while supporting wealthy superannuants. AAP

Current super concessions favour the wealthy - so why aren’t we supporting reform?

It says much about the degeneration of the Australian Labor Party that its priority and target for budget “savings” is poor single mums. In order to save an estimated $723 million over four years, in January…
It’s time for the government to rethink its stance on superannuation guarantee contributions. It’s time for the government to rethink its stance on superannuation guarantee contributions. AAP

Increasing the super contribution rate is a second-rate solution

Australia’s approach to retirement incomes policy has three pillars. The first pillar is the means-tested age pension, which dates from 1909, and is intended to provide a safety net should the other pillars…
A quarter of retirees are using their superannuation lump sum to pay off debt: is this poor planning or the result of tax incentives? A quarter of retirees are using their superannuation lump sum to pay off debt: is this poor planning or the result of tax incentives?

For retirees, nothing is certain but debt and taxes

Will extra debt neutralise increases in the superannuation contribution rate? Studies of retirees’ financial positions show that many people accumulate debt faster than they add to their super. Once they…
Australia’s approach to pensions and super disadvantages women. Australia’s approach to pensions and super disadvantages women. HarryetN

Australian census: women are living longer, and on less

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on…
Why is everyone staying silent about the government’s proposed changes to superannuation? Why is everyone staying silent about the government’s proposed changes to superannuation?

You may be quietly lining up to lose on your superannuation

Silence surrounds significant changes to your superannuation. While the changes affect many, experienced staff in universities and similar institutions are particularly vulnerable. The halving of the contribution…
Investing in research and innovation could pay handsome dividends for a cashed-up superannuation industry. Investing in research and innovation could pay handsome dividends for a cashed-up superannuation industry. Flickr/Truthout

Preparing for the end of the boom: should super funds invest in science and innovation?

Superannuation funds typically invest in the market - ASX 200 companies, property, cash and bonds. These are attractive for several reasons. Management costs are relatively low, the assets are objectively…
“And then there’s this…” Will there be any surprises in store for this year’s budget? “And then there’s this…” Will there be any surprises in store for this year’s budget? AAP

Wish list for Wayne Swan: what the experts want from the budget

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan will be busy tonight handing down the Federal Budget with all the policy settings we’ll need to ensure Australia’s future prosperity (and not simply as a re-election platform…
Perhaps finance minister Bill Shorten and the Labor party should shout a bit louder about superannuation. Perhaps finance minister Bill Shorten and the Labor party should shout a bit louder about superannuation. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Compulsory super: it’s good, it works and we want more of it

Labor’s devastating Queensland election result has prompted much soul searching within the party and questions about its fundamental approach. Do voters even know what the Labor party stands for? Or is…
Bill Shorten has flagged that there will be significant structural reforms to the superannuation industry. Bill Shorten has flagged that there will be significant structural reforms to the superannuation industry. AAP

Streamlining superannuation: not as simple as it seems

Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten has set up a Productivity Commission inquiry to define the criteria for selecting a default superannuation fund under “modern awards”. By October, commissioners…
Younger Australians are less likely to benefit from a rise in the compulsory super contribution. Younger Australians are less likely to benefit from a rise in the compulsory super contribution. AAP

Lifting the super guarantee isn’t good for everybody

Of the many policy debates in Federal Parliament in 2011, one which gathered support from both major parties was the proposal to lift the superannuation guarantee employer contribution from 9% to 12…
Changes to the MRRT will leave a gaping hole the revenue the tax originally promised. Changes to the MRRT will leave a gaping hole the revenue the tax originally promised. AAP

We’ve gained a mining tax, but lost a rare opportunity

Federal Labor’s mining profits tax was originally designed to be a redistributive measure from a very profitable section of capital to all of capital through company tax cuts. The mini-me Mineral Resources…
Australia’s retirees have been buffeted this week but remain unaware of how to manage the risks. Australia’s retirees have been buffeted this week but remain unaware of how to manage the risks. AAP

Dazed, confused and uninformed: self-funded retirees bear the brunt

Two types of footage illustrated news reports of the financial market turmoil last week: the unlucky teams with frozen smiles ringing the start-of-trade bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and confused…

Research and News (4)

Research Briefs (2)