Super funds’ brief shot at independence

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The House of Representatives voted yesterday in support of a Cooper Review recommendation – that at least a third of super fund trustees have to be independent.

Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Mathias Cormann celebrated the 72/68 victory, saying that “the so-called equal representation model, with just union and employer representatives on certain boards was no longer appropriate in the 21st Century".  

“We welcome the fact that four Labor MPs, including two Ministers and a Government Whip, appear to have boycotted Labor’s instruction to vote against our sensible amendments,” he said in a statement following the vote.

Four hours later, Cormann announced that the appointment of independent directors had been overturned, as the Independents showed their support for Labor. He said the news was disappointing, and that it would “entrench union dominance of industry super funds”.

Cormann has said that he will pursue the change: “Superannuation Funds should have an appropriate diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds represented on their boards, with at least one third of independent directors.”

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