The Guardian 10 August, 2005

Thousands robbed in super rort

Over 17,000 bosses stole workers' retirement funds last year as the Howard government moved to undermine the country's best-performed super schemes. Independent figures show that union- backed industry superannuation delivered double-digit returns last year.

Nine of the top 10 superannuation funds over the last five years were industry funds, according to the latest figures from independent analyst SuperRatings.

It is a figure backed up by rival researcher, Rainmaker Information. Its research shows that seven of the top 10 funds were not-for-profit industry plans.

The Australian Financial Review described the not-for-profit industry funds as "stars of the show".

Michael Rice from independent actuary Rice Walker told the AFR: "It is remarkable how industry funds, statistically, have always been good performers since they started in 1985.

"When the stockmarket has been down, they have tended not to have very big downturns. They have also been prepared to take punts like reducing exposure to international shares. And so far they have been pretty right. I think, given the record, you'd have to say that it is good management rather than luck."

Rice says industry funds can charge fees that are as much as one per cent a year lower than commercial rivals.

Industry funds now control $104 billion of the nation's retirement savings. The government's "super choice" campaign allows employers to shift their employees' superannuation into the fund of the bosses' choice unless workers specify otherwise.

One of the key reasons the federal government has advanced for sweeping workplace change is to limit the rules small business has to abide by!

"Choice" not only brings on more paperwork for employers, for workers it adds to the complexities and dangers inherent in private retirement schemes, especially compared with the alternative a universal, public age pension provided by state.

Back to index page