ASIC's role in super

ASIC is the regulator responsible for the Corporations Act 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act). These acts regulate the conduct and disclosure obligations of financial services providers, including superannuation trustees of registrable superannuation entities. ASIC is also responsible for administering parts of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act).

As conduct regulator for superannuation, ASIC is issues-driven and focuses on trustee conduct that affects superannuation fund members.

ASIC’s role in superannuation includes:

  • undertaking supervision and surveillance activities about trustees’ conduct and disclosure obligations
  • taking enforcement action in response to non-compliance with the laws administered by ASIC
  • assessing Australian financial service (AFS) licence applications
  • exercising administrative powers in relation to AFS licences and disclosure
  • providing guidance to industry and policy advice to Government
  • providing relief from financial services provisions.

Read more about ASIC’s role as the corporate, markets, financial services and consumer credit regulator.

Recent reforms

On 1 January 2021, legislative reforms that expand ASIC’s role in superannuation commenced. The reforms are designed to improve ASIC’s effectiveness as the conduct regulator for superannuation, and to increase ASIC’s consumer protection powers.

The reforms:

  • enable ASIC to more effectively regulate superannuation trustee conduct without detracting from or duplicating the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) role as prudential regulator
  • ensure that there are no gaps in regulatory oversight of the superannuation system
  • ensure that all trustees are treated in the same way and held to the same standards
  • increase ASIC’s responsibilities related to consumer protection, market integrity, disclosure and record keeping under the SIS Act
  • increase ASIC’s powers to take action in relation to a broader range of trustee conduct under the Corporations Act and ASIC Act.

ASIC remains focused on protecting consumers’ interests – we want to see superannuation funds operate in a way that is fair to members and promotes confidence in the superannuation system. ASIC will continue to work alongside APRA to improve trustee conduct and drive better outcomes for consumers.

Further information about how the reforms and regulatory oversight will operate in the new environment can be found in ASIC and APRA’s joint letter to trustees.

Licensing changes

From 1 January 2021, Australian financial services licensees authorised to deal in superannuation who are also RSE licensees regulated by APRA are taken, by law, to be authorised to Provide a Superannuation Trustee Service. A search of ASIC’s Professional Registers for the licence conditions of relevant licensees may not currently show the new authorisation as ASIC needs to undertake a process of updating the details recorded on the Professional Register (which is to be completed by 30 June 2021). The licence authorisation is effective for relevant licensees even if not recorded on the Professional Register.

ASIC has contacted superannuation trustees with further information about licensing regime changes that are relevant to them. On 20 January 2021, ASIC wrote to superannuation trustees who are now authorised, by law, to provide a superannuation trustee service.

Co-regulators

APRA and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are co-regulators of the superannuation industry.

ASIC and APRA are primarily responsible for the supervision of the Corporations Act and the SIS Act respectively. The ATO is the primary regulator in relation to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). Superannuation trustees also have important reporting and administrative obligations to the ATO.

ASIC has a memorandum of understanding in place with both APRA and the ATO to help facilitate the exchange of information between the regulators.

Read more about the ASIC–APRA relationship and ASIC's interaction with other regulators and organisations.

Super industry liaison

ASIC regularly engages with the superannuation industry and industry associations to share or gather information about regulatory changes or key issues. We conduct targeted engagement when issues arise or as part of a consultation process. For example, we may hold roundtable meetings following the release of consultation papers.

Our approach complements ASIC’s ongoing liaison through conferences, presentations and updates.

Industry funding

ASIC issues levy invoices each year to recover its regulatory costs incurred in the previous year from regulated entities.

Read more about Industry funding.

Moneysmart

ASIC’s Moneysmart website is a starting point for consumers and investors to make informed financial decisions. It provides free, independent guidance and superannuation and retirement calculators for consumers.

We are always looking to improve our superannuation information and would like to know what’s important to you. Please leave us some feedback.

Note: This address is not for general enquiries about our services or advice. We suggest asking us a question online instead.

What's new

ASIC’s expectations about new internal dispute resolution requirements for superannuation trustees

March 2021

Regulatory Guide 271: Internal dispute resolution (RG 271) was released in July 2020 and contains updated standards and requirements that will drive financial services firms to ensure they handle consumer complaints in a fair and timely manner.

Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what the changes mean for trustees and outlines ASIC’s expectations.

Read the article

ASIC releases advice fee consent and lack of independence disclosure legislative instruments

25 March 2021

ASIC has made three legislative instruments that deal with advice fee consents and independence disclosure following Royal Assent of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No.2) Act 2021 earlier this month.

Read the media release

Insurance in super: Turning data into outcomes

12 March 2021

Recent changes to superannuation laws have created many immediate pressures and opportunities for trustees. One opportunity trustees have now is to think holistically about their systems and processes: can they be improved to deliver better outcomes for members and avoid poor outcomes that may only become apparent years down the track? Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, discusses some of ASIC’s recent work on insurance in superannuation and how trustees can use data to improve the insurance they provide to members.

Read the article

Temporary arrangements for trustees notifying ASIC of new responsible managers

5 March 2021

Following recent feedback from the industry, as a temporary measure, ASIC will not require trustees notifying ASIC of the appointment of new responsible manager(s) for the provision of a superannuation trustee service, to provide proof documents that would usually be required at the time of notification.

Read more

Reforms of the core regulatory framework for superannuation

4 February 2021

Government reforms that expand ASIC’s role in superannuation commenced on 1 January 2021. The reforms enable ASIC to play a more effective role in regulating conduct in the superannuation industry to promote better consumer outcomes and market integrity. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what the reforms mean for trustees, ASIC’s approach to the changes, and how ASIC and APRA will continue to work together as co-regulators of superannuation.

Read the article

ASIC letter to superannuation trustees authorised to provide a superannuation trustee service

20 January 2021

ASIC has issued a letter to superannuation trustees who from 1 January 2021, are authorised provide a superannuation trustee service by their Australian financial services licence.

Read the letter

APRA and ASIC letter in relation to the Member Outcomes obligations and Product design and distribution obligations

15 December 2020

APRA and ASIC have issued a joint letter to RSE licensees in relation to the Member Outcomes (MO) obligations and the Product design and distribution obligations (DDOs), to assist RSE licensees to better understand the way in which the MO obligations and the DDOs interact.

Read the letter

ASIC report explores how to measure ‘value for money’ in default insurance in superannuation

14 December 2020

Report 675 Default insurance in superannuation: Member value for money (REP 675) explores metrics that can help superannuation trustees analyse the value for money of default insurance and deliver better outcomes for members.

Read the media release

Virtual roundtable - Internal Dispute Resolution in Super

11 December 2020

On 25 November 2020, ASIC held a virtual roundtable to assist industry in understanding the new RG 271 standards. View a copy of the slides from the roundtable, including responses to common questions raised before or at the roundtable here (PDF 215 KB).

ASIC extends relief from portfolio holdings disclosure

8 December 2020

ASIC has deferred the first reporting date for superannuation funds to disclose their portfolio holdings because the regulations supporting the requirements have not yet been made.

Read the media release

Clarifying intra-fund advice

4 December 2020

Superannuation members can receive limited financial advice about their superannuation from their superannuation fund at no extra cost. This advice model is generally referred to as intra-fund advice. However, the term ‘intra-fund advice’ has been subject to some confusion. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what intra-fund advice is and what ASIC expects of intra-fund advice providers.

Read the article

Trustees to improve occupational classification practices in insurance in superannuation

3 December 2020

An ASIC review of default occupational categories in life insurance held through superannuation has identified ways for trustees to improve member outcomes and better meet legal obligations.

Read the media release

ASIC releases consumer research on insurance in super

20 November 2020

Report 673 Consumer engagement in insurance in super (REP 673) presents findings from research exploring the experiences of superannuation fund members, who were not using a financial adviser and directly contacted their fund to make enquiries about or make changes to their insurance arrangements.

Read the media release

Virtual roundtable - Internal Dispute Resolution in Super

16 November 2020

ASIC is conducting a virtual roundtable on November 25th discussing Internal Dispute Resolution in Super - New Enforceable Requirements (RG 271). 

This roundtable is targeted at Senior Risk and/or Compliance Persons and Trustee Office Leaders. If you are interested in attending please RSVP by 20 November to IDRinSuper1@asic.gov.au

Read the invite

Media release on updated guidance

2020-21: ASIC’s focus in superannuation

10 November 2020

Two things are certain for the superannuation industry this year: that the uncertainty and challenges created by COVID-19 are continuing, and that in the face of this uncertainty, trustees’ obligations to their members remain important. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, discusses ASIC’s priorities for 2020-21.

Read the article

Support and protections for whistleblowers

7 October 2020

The Australian Government’s whistleblower protection reforms have been in place for more than a year. Jane Eccleston, ASIC Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, reminds trustees of their obligations to support and protect whistleblowers and implement a whistleblower policy.

Read the article

ASIC extends financial advice relief related to the COVID-19 early release of superannuation

23 September 2020

ASIC is extending the financial advice relief related to the COVID-19 early release of superannuation scheme in light of the extension of the scheme by the Government.

Read the release

ASIC updates the fees and costs disclosure regime

9 September 2020

ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, Jane Eccleston, provides an overview of ASIC’s latest update to Regulatory Guide 97 Disclosing Fees and Costs in PDSs and Periodic Statements.

Read the article

Superannuation trustees compensate members wrongly classified as ‘smokers’

7 August 2020

Superannuation trustees that were classifying new members as ‘smokers’ by default and charging them higher life insurance premiums have ceased this practice, and some trustees have remediated members for the extra premiums paid.

Read the release

Minor updates to RG 97

24 July 2020

ASIC has released minor amendments to the fees and cost disclosure regime for issuers of superannuation and managed investment products.

Read the release

The role of super funds during COVID-19

3 July 2020

ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, Jane Eccleston, discusses the regulator’s focus and what it expects from industry in the current environment.

Read the article

Finding and consolidating ‘lost’ superannuation

6 May 2020

ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, Jane Eccleston, discusses some of the issues ASIC has identified to help trustees best guide their fund members.

Read the article

More super news and reports

Last updated: 28/01/2021 04:36