Dozens of Australian pension products have failed an annual regulator test designed to weed out under performing funds and clamp down on excessive fees.
(Bloomberg) — Dozens of Australian pension products have failed an annual regulator test designed to weed out under performing funds and clamp down on excessive fees.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s third annual test assessed the financial performance of 64 default products – which make up the bulk of member accounts – and 805 other products offering more specialized investment options such as ethical or high growth.
Among those to fail was a socially responsible product from the A$260 billion ($169 billion) Australian Retirement Trust, the nation’s second-largest pension fund. While only one default product — Acclaim Wealth’s AMG MySuper — failed this year’s test, 96 of the other products didn’t make the grade.
“The annual performance test remains a powerful tool to help APRA hold trustees to account for product performance, fees and costs,” APRA Deputy Chair Margaret Cole said in a statement Thursday, adding that nine under performing default products had closed since the test began in 2021 with combined assets of A$39 billion.
The test is becoming a key monitoring tool for both the regulator and Australian workers in the nation’s highly competitive A$3.5 trillion pensions industry, known as superannuation. Funds offering products that fail must notify their members, while products that fail two years in a row are barred from accepting new members.
Australian Retirement Trust is “disappointed” that its QSuper Socially Responsible option failed the performance test, and plans to close the fund in July next year, it said in a statement. AMG MySuper has failed for a third straight year and will also be discontinued.
“All trustees must take responsibility for the products they make available and ensure the products they offer are in their members’ best financial interests,” Cole said, adding there would be a “heightened focus” on under performing products.
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