Ross Greenwood coined the term "peak super" in opening Day Two of the ASFA conference in Melbourne today. The questions he threw as challenges to the panel and the audience included:
"What happens when the money going out (how everyone in the room currently gets paid) is greater than the money coming in?" and "Do we really have a world class retirement savings and income system?"
The short answers from a panel of industry leaders were "no, we haven't reached peak super" and "we can always improve, but yes, we think it is a world class system both for retirement savings and incomes".
Panel members Steve Bracks (United Super / CBUS), Sue Dahn (ESSSuper and AGEST), Michael Dwyer (FSS) and Nicolette Rubinsztein (CFS) also addressed the previous day's comments by Dr David Morgan in relation to superannuation industry reform, the Henry Report and the balance between retail bank deposits and savings inside super.
On the banks versus super
"Ken Henry is more focused on bank funding than super adequacy."
"Morgan said 'I'm from the bank and I'm here to help you'. You have to worry when the bankers start to offer us with the super system. A trillion dollars attracts a lot of attention."
Is our super system world class?
"The Deloitte fee study & other research about performance relative to other nation's pension funds gives evidence for (the case our system is) world class."
"The Mercer study said we have the best super system bar the Dutch - measured in terms of adequacy, integrity & sustainability."
"Can we do it better? Yes, but the Auspoll research shows 80 per cent of Australians are confident in their super - you don't want to change that."
"We've had the biggest shock to the system in GFC and yet members stayed put."
On media coverage of super
"The super system has had a 'going over' by the media. The easiest point to describe the GFC was to focus on people's retirement investments - media could relate the GFC to the public and bring it back to them. Despite the enormous amount of negative media that started with the GFC, you can see with the Auspoll results that people are still behind and supporting the super system. I defy you to find a piece of public policy with that kind of support in any country."
On legislative risk to super
"Too frequently we've seen super be a political football and source of votes with popular measures put through."
"Political changes have impacted confidence - we know people are not putting any more money in because you keep changing the rules."
And finally, this comment: "The same amount of thought went into the recent budget changes to super that went into the changes to the employee share scheme changes" to spontaneous applause from an audience not given to overreaction.
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