Last Sunday, it was Mothers Day around Australia and many people celebrated at the Mothers Day Classic (MDC) in their local area.
This year is the 22nd year for the MDC, with over $35.3 million raised for breast cancer research. The aim of the Mother’s Day Classic is to deliver a fun, healthy and inspirational event that brings the community together on Mother’s Day to support and remember those touched by breast cancer.
The Canberra event this year was run by a committee that included AvSuper staff. AvSuper also sponsored the event and many staff either volunteered on the day and/or participated in the walk itself.
It’s not too late to donate and help wipe out breast cancer – donations can be made online until 30 June, 2019.
I am very pleased to introduce two new Directors for the AvSuper Trustee Board.
Stuart Brades and Stephen Merlicek are our newest Directors. The AvSuper Trustee Board consists of nine Directors, comprised equally of independent, member-nominated and employer-nominated representatives.
Stuart was nominated by the ACTU. He is an Air Traffic Controller in the Perth Tower and is Vice President Finance for the Civil Air Operations Officers Association of Australia. Stuart holds a number of qualifications including a Masters of Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Science – Computing Science.
Stephen was appointed as an Independent Director following an open recruitment process. He is an experienced Director and finance executive and has held the position of Chief Investment Officer with both IOOF and Telstra Super. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Economic (Honours) and a Masters of Commerce.
On behalf of the AvSuper Trustee Board and staff, I welcome Stephen and Stuart, and and the knowledge and experience that they bring to the Board. We look forward to working with them on behalf of all of our members.
On Tuesday 2 April, the Federal Government released their 2019-20 Budget.
There were few superannuation changes, but we’ve summarised the main proposals affecting AvSuper’s members below, and provided some thoughts on how we believe the measures may apply in practice, should they become law.
With a federal election expected to be called any day, the progress of these proposals and measures would appear to depend on the outcome of the federal election. As always, we will keep members updated as and when legislation occurs.
— BUILDING SUPER WHEN OVER 65 —
From 1 July 2020, eligibility to make additional voluntary contributions without needing to meet the “work test” will include 65 and 66 year olds.
Members aged 65 and 66 will also be given access to the bring forward arrangements, which currently allow members under 65 to make up to three year’s worth (ie up to $300,000) of non-concessional contributions in one year.
In addition, spouse contribution age limits will increase from 69 to 74 years.
— AvSuper comment on building super —
These are small but sensible measures that will enable older members to continue building their super.
AvSuper members seeking to take advantage of the new contribution rules will however need to also remember that there have been no changes to the contribution caps or the maximum transfer balance cap (for new income streams).
— Opt-in insurance – confirmation —
The Government confirmed its intention to legislate new opt-in insurance rules for new members under 25 and/or with an account balance below $6,000.
However, if this proposal is legislated, the start date is delayed until 1 October 2019.
— AvSuper comment on opt-in insurance —
We’ve been watching this proposal for some weeks and much remains unclear. While younger members and low account balance holders will no longer receive automatic insurance upon joining AvSuper under this proposal, and will have to specifically opt-in for such insurance, it remains unclear how this would apply in practice. We will write to those AvSuper members likely to be affected by this proposal as more information is known.
In late February 2019, the Federal Government legislated several small changes affecting super. These changes are to take effect from 1 July 2019, although we do not expect the changes to significantly affect the majority of AvSuper members.
Inactive members – insurance will cease
|Effective from 1 July 2019, the Government requires that your insurance (death and/or disability) arrangements must cease after 16 months of “inactivity”, unless you confirm to us in writing that you wish to retain that insurance. Inactive is defined (for this measure) as 16 months without contributions of any kind.
We will be required to confirm with you at various intervals of inactivity to confirm if you wish to retain your insurance. If we do not hear from you within the 16 months, then we will cease deducting insurance premiums from your account, and your insurance cover will be cancelled at the end of the notification period.
AvSuper Comment: We recognise that many of our members value their insurance, even if they are not working and not receiving contributions for a period of time, and we will be in touch with members likely to be affected by this change in the coming weeks.
It is important to note that if your insurance is cancelled, you may not be eligible for automatic cover in future so if you subsequently require insurance cover, you may be subject to underwriting requirements and/or limitations until qualifying periods are met.
Capping superannuation fees
|Effective from 1 July 2019, superannuation fees will be capped at 3% per annum of your account balance, if your balance is less than $6,000. The new laws mean the Trustee will refund fees above the 3% cap, which will be calculated based on your account balance as at 30 June each year, or upon exiting the Fund.|
AvSuper Comment: In practice, this will likely only affect a small number of AvSuper members – namely those with account balances of approximately $3,200 or less.
Removal of exit fees
|Exit fees will also be prohibited from 1 July 2019. Since AvSuper does not charge exit fees, this change will not affect our members.|
AvSuper Comment: Those members with other super fund accounts who have not been able to consolidate their balances into AvSuper because of high exit fees in their other fund, may now want to review their situation and see if a rollover to AvSuper will now be possible.