ASIC finds no New Daily, super fund conflict

The corporate regulator has found no immediate signs of conflict of interest in relation to the investment of $3 million of members’ money by three industry superannuation funds in media start-up The New Daily.

Late last year, during a Senate Estimates Committee hearing, Nationals Senator John Williams raised the issue over AustralianSuper, Cbus and Industry Super Holdings’ investment in the online publication.

Williams questioned the use of member funds in a media investment and asked ASIC chair Greg Medcraft to examine the situation for possible conflict of interest concerns.

Medcraft opted to take the question on notice. ASIC provided answers to Williams’ questions in a written statement last month.

“As we do with other advertising generally, we will monitor the potential for content and editorial bias on superannuation reporting,”

ASIC said in the statement. “ASIC reviews the communications strategies of super funds to their members … we also review this content to consider whether it is misleading.”

The types of member communication ASIC had reviewed from other funds included websites, e-learning, calculators, seminars, blogs and newsletters, he said.

“In regards to advertising on The New Daily, we note that currently all advertisements are for Cbus, AustralianSuper and ME Bank,” he said.

“The articles currently on the site appear to be neutral and are not biased towards the interests of the industry superannuation sector.

“As such, the concerns in relation to conflict of interest are currently not readily apparent. The majority of superannuation articles appear to be focused on general superannuation education or general discussion regarding changes occurring in the superannuation space.”

ASIC had worked closely with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) on the issue of the appropriateness of funding the site, he said.

“Our understanding is that APRA has made inquiries about the nature of the funding to determine whether this funding is in keeping with the spirit of, and covered under, the sole purpose test as set out in section 62 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993,” he said.

 

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About Tim Davidson

Tim Davidson is a Director of Connect Accounting Pty Limited an Australian company that provides secure and cost effective compliance and SMSF accounting and income tax services to Australian accounting practices and superannuation administration companies. Tim Davidson, Google Plus Profile - https://plus.google.com/116869855757893395606

Posted on March 11, 2014, in Accounting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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