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Superannuation: Assessing Competitiveness and Efficiency

Issues paper

This paper was released on 7 July 2017 to assist participants in preparing a submission to the public inquiry into Superannuation: Assessing Competitiveness and Efficiency. It outlines a range of issues about which the Commission seeks information.

Initial submissions were due by 21 August 2017. Opportunity for further comment will be sought upon release of the draft report in early 2018.

Download the issues paper

  • Media release
  • Contents

Inquiry into the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the Superannuation System

The Productivity Commission has today released an issues paper for its 12 month Inquiry into the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the Superannuation System.

This Inquiry is the third and final stage of the Commission’s Review of the superannuation system, flowing from the Australian Government’s response to the 2014 Financial System Inquiry. The Inquiry will assess the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia’s superannuation system based on the assessment framework developed in the Commission’s stage 1 Study in 2016.

The issues paper is designed to help superannuation system participants in their preparation of initial submissions for the Inquiry.

The sheer size of the superannuation system, with more than $2 trillion of Australian assets, combined with its compulsory nature, highlights the importance of this Inquiry. There could be very large gains to the community from increasing the system’s efficiency. And competition is often the impetus to promote efficiency and members’ best interests — an important means to a wellbeing end.

Undertaking such a wide-ranging review of the system represents a challenging and unique task. There is no precedent globally for such a comprehensive review of the competitiveness and efficiency of a superannuation or pension system.

The Commission has consulted widely through the first two stages of the Review, and that work has laid the foundation for the final stage 3 Inquiry. It has also provided the industry with certainty on how this Inquiry will be undertaken. The Commission is seeking to engage with all superannuation system participants through the issues paper. It would especially like to hear from fund members (including SMSFs), and an online comment facility has been created to make it easier for them to participate.

The Commission has actively sought to not impose undue costs on the industry – costs that are ultimately borne by fund members. The Commission has identified that of the efficiency and competitiveness data it is seeking in this last stage of the Inquiry process, nearly half of the evidence and data needs are already in the public domain, more than a third are available for purchase by the Commission, and less than 20 per cent need to be collected from funds or members. Surveys of funds and members will commence shortly to address identified gaps in the evidence base, and the Commission anticipates all funds will participate.

With the Commission having completed its consultation for its stage 2 Inquiry – developing alternative default allocation models – the Treasurer has agreed that the stage 2 work be incorporated and completed as part of the broader stage 3 review. This meets the near universal preference of Inquiry participants that the alternative allocative models be ultimately assessed alongside the current default arrangements. This is addressed in the issues paper.

Comments from superannuation members and initial public submissions from all interested participants are due by 21 August 2017.

The Commission has been asked to provide a final report to the Australian Government in June 2018.

Background information

Alex Maevsky (Acting Assistant Commissioner) 03 9653 2230

Requests for comment/other

Leonora Nicol (Media, Publications and Web) 02 6240 3239 / 0417 665 443

  • Terms of reference
  • 1 What is this inquiry about?
  • 2 How will the super system be assessed?
  • 3 How can you contribute to this Inquiry?
  • References
  • Attachment A: Additional evidence needs
  • Attachment B: The Commission’s assessment framework
  • Attachment C: 'No regret' reforms and a common feature of alternative default models for further consideration
  • Attachment D: How to make a submission or comment