Communicating with employees about choice of superannuation fund – what you can and cannot do

On Friday last week, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) published an updated Information Sheet 89 on “Communicating with employees about choice of superannuation fund: What you can and cannot do.”

This is great timing as the changes to Information Sheet 89 reflect the super fund ‘stapling’ measures, which commence on 1 November 2021. 

Why is this information important?

Information Sheet 89” provides guidance for employers about how they can communicate to their employees about superannuation choices without breaking the law! 

Its contents are also relevant for superannuation trustees, payroll providers and superannuation clearing houses and others who engage with employers or employees, including union officials.

The information sheet provides general guidance about:

  • How you can communicate to your employees about superannuation choices without breaking the law
     
  • What you should avoid saying or doing. Importantly, it highlights that employers should be careful not to provide financial product advice or engage in distributing superannuation products on behalf of others.

Decisions employees make about their superannuation can have long term consequences, directly affecting how much money they have to live on in retirement. 

This is why it is important that only people who are appropriately qualified and trained advise on superannuation issues! 

It is also important that employers do not take actions that are inconsistent with laws designed to promote appropriate choices by employees about their superannuation fund.

This table summarises “what you can do and what you should not do” when communicating with your employees about choice of superannuation fund (‘super choice’).

What you can doWhat you should not do
You can give factual information to employees, including documents relating to superannuation. You can refer employees to information on Government websites, such as the YourSuper comparison tool and Moneysmart resources. You can ask a superannuation fund provider to present to your employees You can refer employees to a licensed financial adviserYou should not give financial product advice or mislead employees about superannuation products. You should not mandate, recommend or influence your employees to choose a particular superannuation fund. You should not make an unsolicited offer to employees or ask them to apply for a superannuation product during real-time contact (such as a meeting) – in other words; you should not “hawk” products

Note: If employers fail to comply with the laws administered by ASIC outlined in the information sheet, ASIC will decide whether or not to take further action. They will take into account whether the misconduct is inadvertent or deliberate, as well as other relevant circumstances. 

 Who are ASIC?

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent Australian government body. They operate under the direction of commissioners appointed by the Governor-General.

The laws they administer give them the powers needed to perform their role, and their powers are designed to protect consumers against misconduct and harms relating to financial products and services.

To read the full information sheet, please visit:

INFORMATION SHEET 89

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