Thursday 7 September 2006

Super Fund Managers are NOT our friends

Let's face it. Superannuation is a business, and Fund managers want to make as much profit as possible - by taking as big a cut as possible out of our money!

A typical example was the response to the Treasurer's proposed cut in Superannuation tax (to 0%) on end benefits. After an initial "any cut in superannuation tax is wonderful" reaction from the Funds (because it will encourage more money to flow into superannuation instead of other investments, and hence generate more fee income for them). It quickly became a unified call from the Fund managers to "cut the tax on money going IN to superannuation instead". Allegedly this will mean bigger end benefits for members, but the only detailed analysis of this I've seen showed that the difference between eliminating tax on end benefits compared to eliminating it from contributions is minimal.

The REAL reason (that no one has mentioned) is that a cut in tax on end benefits doesn't directly increase Super Fund profits, all else being equal (ie. ignoring any increase due to increased contributions into Superannation). On the other hand, eliminating the 15% contribution tax means that super funds will get an immediate 15% increase in the amount of fees they collect on contributions! And the bucket of money sitting in your retirement account (and subject to a typical 2% MER) would get 15% larger over time.

Funny that none of the Fund managers seem to have pointed that out, or have offered to cut their fees if the tax cut was applied to contributions instead of end benefits!

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