ASIC consults on updates to relief for superannuation calculators and retirement estimates

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ASIC has released Consultation Paper 351 Superannuation forecasts: Update to superannuation calculators and estimates relief (CP 351) to seek stakeholder feedback on proposed updates to relief and guidance for superannuation forecasting tools.

Superannuation calculators and retirement estimates are low-cost forecasting tools that are intended to be a helpful prompt for consumers to review their financial situation, and if appropriate, seek further information or financial advice.

Entities, such as superannuation trustees, that provide these forecasting tools to consumers within the terms of ASIC’s relief are exempt from certain licensing and disclosure requirements associated with providing personal financial advice.

CP 351 outlines ASIC’s proposals to:

  • continue providing its longstanding relief from personal financial advice requirements for persons who provide superannuation calculators and for superannuation trustees who provide retirement estimates to their members;
  • adopt a single framework for how calculators and retirement estimates may be provided under ASIC’s relief, which will require trustees to have greater consistency between the assumptions used across their retirement estimates and superannuation calculators;
  • set standard assumptions for retirement ages and inflation rates that must be used as the defaults, to foster consistency across the industry;
  • give greater flexibility to trustees to tailor forecasts based on their members’ investment strategies.

ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said, ‘Superannuation calculators and retirement estimates can help consumers think ahead about what role their superannuation can play in their retirement income. ASIC’s proposals provide trustees with forecasting tools for members that can be helpful in implementing a retirement income strategy under the Government’s proposed retirement income covenant.’

‘We want to hear from stakeholders about how our relief can best facilitate industry’s appropriate provision of tools that help super fund members to think about retirement income. We would welcome recent evidence on how calculators and estimates have influenced consumer outcomes in practice to help ASIC ensure our proposed relief is fit for purpose,’ Ms Press said.

ASIC is inviting feedback on CP 351 from industry participants, consumer groups, actuaries and other interested stakeholders. ASIC will consider the response and issue a feedback report outlining final positions.

ASIC intends to publish the updated instruments and guidance before the existing relief in ASIC Class Order [CO 11/1227] sunsets on 1 April 2022.

Submissions to CP 351 are due by 28 January 2022.

Background

Superannuation calculators and retirement estimates may involve personal financial advice. ASIC currently gives class order relief from the Australian financial services (AFS) licensing and personal advice requirements in the Corporations Act 2001 through ASIC (Generic Calculators) Instrument 2016/207 (for financial calculators) and ASIC Class Order [CO 11/1227] (for retirement estimates).

Under ASIC’s current relief, a financial calculator, including a superannuation calculator, may be provided by any person. A retirement estimate may only be provided by a superannuation trustee. To rely on ASIC’s relief, providers must comply with the conditions set out in the legislative instruments. These tools should not be used by providers to recommend or promote specific financial products to consumers.

On 27 September 2021, the Government released exposure draft legislation for a new retirement income covenant that would require trustees to develop a retirement income strategy that outlines how they plan to assist their members in retirement. The strategy must consider how the trustee will assist their members to balance maximising their retirement income, managing risks, and having some flexible access to savings.

In finalising the relief for superannuation forecasts, ASIC will consider the requirements in the retirement income covenant legislation when it passes Parliament.

ASIC offers consumers a range of resources relating to superannuation and retirement through the Moneysmart.gov.au website. ASIC will update the Moneysmart superannuation and retirement calculators to be consistent with key aspects of the settings in the new relief.

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