Hayne to grill 14 extremely funds consisting of AustralianSuper, AMP, CBA

by James Frost

Directors from 14 super funds will be called upon to explain themselves when the Hayne royal commission kicks off public hearings into superannuation when hearings start on August 6.

The appearance of seven industry funds including AustralianSuper, Host-Plus, Sunsuper and CBUS, which control more than $230 billion of investment, will ensure this will be the most eagerly anticipated of any of the public hearings.

Retail funds owned by AMP, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, IOOF, Mercer and Suncorp will also be called alongside smaller industry funds such as Catholic Super and Electricity Supply Industry Superannuation to defend how they have discharged their duties.

Westpac has not been named as a case study for the second time following its omission from the farming finance and indigenous interactions with financial services companies round.

The commission has said it will explore structural and governance arrangements, the relationships between trustees and financial advisers and selling practices.

Best interests of members

It is expected that funds will be probed on allocating capital to funds run by related parties where those investment options have delivered substandard returns.

Chairman and directors who have held positions for extended periods are also expected to be closely looked at.

In addition to misconduct and conduct falling below community standards and expectations, the commission will also explore circumstances where retirement savings have not been used in the best interests of members.

The royal commission has also asked for Qsuper to appear in relation to 'Superannuation funds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members'.

The banking regulator APRA and the corporate cop ASIC have also been asked to appear an defend the 'Effectiveness of superannuation regulators'.

The prospect an additional round that would give the royal commission the flexibility to call on bank CEOs to appear had long been speculated.

The hearings will take place after Commissioner Hayne is due to submit his interim report on September 30.

It was also announced the interim report would only deal with subject matter from the first four rounds of hearings suggesting the report which is due in 10 weeks is well advanced.