Superannuation guidance, relief and legislative instruments
ASIC issues guidance, regulatory relief, legislative instruments, information sheets and other documentation to guide and assist the superannuation industry.
Consistency of disclosures: s29QC of the SIS Act
Disclosure requirements for superannuation trustees: s29QC
The start date for the consistency requirement has been deferred until 1 Jan 2024. ASIC extended an earlier deferral by amending Class Order [CO 14/541] RSE licensee s29QC SIS Act disclosure exemption. ASIC did this to allow additional time to consider the policy position in relation to this requirement. If the policy position is settled before the deferral date, the instrument can be revoked.
Cross-agency process for innovative retirement income stream products
In 2017, the government extended the tax exemption on earnings in the retirement phase to new innovative retirement income stream products. These are new types of products that aim to provide consumers with greater choice and flexibility when considering their retirement product options, help them manage the risk of outliving their retirement savings and enhance their standard of living in retirement.
To support industry in developing new innovative retirement income stream products, the government also provided a streamlined pathway for product providers to engage with five key agencies about a proposed product – ATO, DSS, Services Australia, APRA and ASIC – in a single process. The cross-agency process is voluntary and can be used at any time during the development of an innovative retirement income stream product. It allows a product provider to test concepts and seek information and guidance on how these products meet the requirements of the relevant legislation.
Design and distribution obligations
Letters to trustees
Design and distribution obligations
The design and distribution obligations require firms to design financial products to meet the needs of consumers, and to distribute their products in a more targeted manner.
For more information about design and distribution obligations see:
- Regulatory Guide 274 Product design and distribution obligations (RG 274)
- Media Release (20-320MR) ASIC releases regulatory guide on product design and distribution obligations (11 December 2020)
- Report 674 Response to submissions on CP 325 on product design and distribution obligations (REP 674)
For useful information about websites and short-form product disclosure statements, see:
- Regulatory Guide 168 Product Disclosure Statements (and other disclosure obligations) (RG 168)
- Information Sheet 155 Shorter PDSs: Complying with requirements for superannuation products and simple managed investment schemes (INFO 155)
- Information Sheet 278 Inventory of superannuation trustee transparency and disclosure obligations (INFO 278)
For further information, browse and download ASIC’s regulatory documents, including regulatory guides, information sheets and legislative instruments (formerly class orders).
Dispute resolution – Superannuation funds
Superannuation trustees must have a dispute resolution system that consists of:
- internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedures that meet the current regulatory guide, expectations and requirements made or approved by ASIC; and
- membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
ASIC review of complaints handling by superannuation trustees
On 9 December 2022, ASIC released its findings from a review of complaints handling by superannuation trustees. All trustees are advised to assess their own complaints handling arrangements in light of ASIC’s findings, which can be viewed here.
For more information see:
- Regulatory Guide 271 Internal dispute resolution (RG 271)
- Report 751 Disputes and deficiencies: A review of complaints handling by superannuation trustees (REP 751)
- Report 752 Review of written responses to superannuation complaints (REP 752)
- Regulatory Guide 267 Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (RG 267)
- Dispute resolution
Fees and costs disclosure
Regulatory Guide 97 Disclosing fees and costs in PDSs and periodic statements (RG 97) provides guidance on how fees and costs should be disclosed in Product Disclosure Statements (PDSs) and periodic statements.
RG 97 was updated following public consultation and an external expert review of the regulatory guide, as well as consumer testing of proposed changes to the presentation of fees and costs.
The transitional version of RG 97 (released March 2017) will continue to be relevant during the transition period. However, the version of RG 97 (released November 2019, updated July 2020) provides industry with clearer guidance about existing fees and costs disclosure requirements that have not changed from March 2017.
For more information see:
- RG 97 (updated July 2020)
- ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070
- ASIC Corporations (Amendment and Repeal) Instrument 2020/579 which amended ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070.
For the requirements before the commencement of ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070 see:
- Transitional version of RG 97 released March 2017
- Transitional Q&As
- Class Order [CO 14/1252] Technical modifications to Schedule 10 of the Corporations Regulations
- ASIC Corporations (Amendment and Repeal) Instrument 2020/579 which amended [CO 14/1252].
Update (11 November 2021)
RG 97: Platform fees and costs disclosure
ASIC has decided to discontinue work on the RG 97 Platforms project, which focused on platform fees and costs disclosure. This decision takes into account three factors:
- First, ASIC has provided guidance about the disclosure of fees and costs for platforms in the updated and current RG 97
- Further updating the platform fees and costs disclosure guidance will likely raise policy issues that are a matter for Government, and
- Finally, APRA is collecting additional fees and cost data on superannuation products that will feed into publications and become relevant as part of the superannuation annual performance assessment. The new collections include fees and cost data on accessible financial products available on platforms.
ASIC Corporations (In-use Notices for Employer-sponsored Superannuation and Superannuation Dashboards) Instrument 2022/496 provides an alternative to lodging multiple in-use notices under subsection 1015D(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act) for certain standard‑employer sponsored superannuation funds.
Instead of lodging a notice (Form FS88 PDS In-use Notice) with ASIC in relation to every Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Supplementary PDS that is in use, ASIC Corporations (In-use Notices for Employer-sponsored Superannuation and Superannuation Dashboards) Instrument 2022/496 allows the lodgement of one primary notice in circumstances where a number of PDSs share the same common part together with a later secondary notice.
Where this alternative is utilised, the notices must be lodged by the person who is required to prepare the PDS or Supplementary PDS, or on whose behalf it is required to be prepared (see subsection 1013A(3)).
ASIC Corporations (In-use Notices for Employer-sponsored Superannuation and Superannuation Dashboards) Instrument 2022/496 modifies the Act by inserting a new section 1015DA. Trustees wishing to utilise the alternative in-use notice procedure must comply with the terms of the law as modified by the instrument.
MySuper product dashboard
Information Sheet 170 MySuper Product dashboard requirements for superannuation trustees (INFO 170) provides guidance to superannuation trustees and other persons in relation to the product dashboard requirements in s1017BA of the Corporations Act 2001 for MySuper products.
You can also download a copy of a MySuper product dashboard example.
Choice product dashboard
The start date for choice product dashboard requirements has been deferred until 1 October 2027 as regulations have not been made. If choice product dashboard regulations are made by the Government, ASIC will withdraw its relief.
Prohibition of employer inducements
ASIC has issued guidance to trustees that using improper inducements to influence employers in their choice of default fund is illegal. For more information see:
- Information Sheet 241 Prohibition on influencing employers’ superannuation fund choice: section 68A of the SIS Act (INFO 241).
- Media Release (19-198MR) Trustees warned about influencing employers through improper inducements (31 July 2019).
Retirement income covenant
Following amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, all registrable superannuation entity (RSE) licensees are required to have formulated a retirement income strategy from 1 July 2022. This strategy is to be implemented through a continuous improvement process over time.
On 7 March 2022, ASIC and APRA issued a joint letter to assist RSE licensees with implementation of a new retirement income covenant.
Joint thematic review
ASIC and APRA conducted a joint thematic review of how superannuation trustees are supporting their members under the Retirement Income Covenant.
Following the thematic review, ASIC and APRA released Report 766 Implementation of the retirement income covenant: Findings from the APRA and ASIC thematic review (REP 766) and published Media Release (23-191MR) Review finds super trustees need to improve retirement outcomes planning (18 July 2023).
APRA has also published Frequently Asked Questions to assist RSE licensees in developing their retirement income strategies.
For further information see Retirement income covenant.
Shorter product disclosure regime
The shorter Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) disclosure regime commenced on 22 June 2012.
ASIC Corporations (Shorter PDS and Delivery of Accessible Financial Products Disclosure by Platform Operators and Superannuation Trustees) Instrument 2022/497 provides relief from the shorter PDS regime until 1 October 2027. The relief extends to superannuation platforms, hedge funds and multifunds.
Information Sheet 155 Shorter PDSs – Complying with requirements for superannuation products and simple managed investment schemes (INFO 155) provides guidance for industry on technical issues related to implementation of the shorter PDS requirement.
Letters to trustees
- ASIC and APRA letter to trustees with further guidance on oversight of advice fee deductions from member accounts (30 June 2021) (PDF 138 KB)
- ASIC and APRA letter to trustees on oversight of advice fee deductions from member accounts (10 April 2019)
For information about advice fee arrangement written consent requirements see:
- Media Release (21-134MR) ASIC releases guidance on ongoing fee arrangements (15 June 2021)
- Media Release (21-058MR) ASIC releases advice fee consent and lack of independence disclosure legislative instruments (25 March 2021)
- Information Sheet 256 FAQs: Ongoing fee arrangements (INFO 256)
- Information Sheet 280 FAQs: Non-ongoing fee consents (INFO 280)
- ASIC Superannuation (Consent to Pass on Costs of Providing Advice) Instrument 2021/126
- ASIC Corporations (Consent to Deductions—Ongoing Fee Arrangements) Instrument 2021/124
Information Sheet 168 Giving and collectively charging for intra-fund advice (INFO 168) provides guidance about giving and collectively charging for intra-fund advice.
Communicating with employees about choice of superannuation fund: What you can and cannot do
Information Sheet 89 Communicating with employees about choice of superannuation fund: What you can and cannot do (INFO 89) provides general guidance on how employers can communicate with employees about super choices without breaking the law, and what employers should avoid saying or doing.
Super switching advice - complying with your obligations
Information Sheet 182 Super switching advice – complying with your obligations (INFO 182) provides general information and compliance tips for financial advisers who provide super switching advice.
Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs)
Information Sheet 274 Tips for giving self-managed superannuation fund advice (INFO 274) provides tips to help advice providers comply with their legal obligations when giving advice about self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
Digital financial product advice
Regulatory Guide 255 Providing digital financial advice product advice to retail clients (RG 255) provides information about digital advice (also known as robo-advice or automated advice).
General advice obligations
Regulatory Guide 36 Licensing: Financial product advice and dealing (RG 36) provides guidance on the meaning of ‘provide financial product advice’ and the meaning of ‘deal in a financial product’. It also provides guidance on the obligations that apply to providers of financial services
Regulatory Guide 175 Licensing: Financial product advisers—Conduct and disclosure (RG 175) provides guidance on conduct and disclosure obligations in Pt 7.7 and Div 2 of Pt 7.7A of the Corporations Act 2001, in particular their application to the provision of financial product advice.
Regulatory Guide 244 Giving information, general advice and scaled advice (RG 244) provides guidance for AFS licensees as to the differences between giving factual information, general advice and personal advice. It also covers advice obligations, including the best interests duty and related obligations, when giving ‘scaled’ advice (i.e. personal advice that is limited in scope).
Notifying members of material changes and significant events
Information Sheet 90 Notifying members about superannuation transfers without consent (INFO 90) provides information about notifying members of superannuation transfers without consent.
Additional information resources
Financial services resources
Helpful links relating to ASIC’s regulatory guidance on compliance with the financial services regime.
Browse and download ASIC’s regulatory documents, including regulatory guides, information sheets and legislative instruments (formerly class orders).
For access to older content see ASIC Digest.
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