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Corporate leaders should take up the fight on super rules

Peter Warnes  |  31 Aug 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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The chorus from corporate chiefs around Australia’s energy debacle is both deafening and monotonous. Two words repeat—investment and certainty. AGL Energy’s chairman Graham Hunt, fresh from firing CEO Andy Vesey (good riddance), opened his lungs with, “The solution to driving energy prices lower is investment in more capacity but to do that you need certainty. When you are making big investment calls that last 30 or 40 years you need to have some certainty about the early part of that investment horizon.” Investment and certainty. The media gives the chorus plenty of oxygen.

But what about the big investment calls and the 30- or 40-year investment horizons of the millions of Australia’s superannuants? They also need certainty when making big investment decisions about the funding of their retirement, particularly the self-funded retirees who endeavour to reduce or eliminate the burden on the country’s exploding welfare bill.

Governments of both persuasions (or are they all the same?), have incessantly meddled with superannuation rules since compulsory superannuation was introduced by the Keating Labor government in 1992. It seems wherever there is a large pool of money, the unscrupulous can’t wait to get their fingers on or into the pool. The Hayne Royal Commission has discovered the length to which some will go, and governments are not excused when it comes to rule changes to superannuation to bolster their coffers.

One can be quite certain governments will continue to raid the superannuation savings of Australians. These superannuants vote, unlike the corporates pleading for certainty elsewhere. Why don’t these same corporate leaders look after the welfare of their employees and rail against changes to superannuation rules on their behalf?

The Bill Shorten-led Opposition looks almost certain to take office at the next federal election. Shorten has already raised the issue of eliminating the rebate of surplus franking credits. How can he and his party justify driving policies protecting the worker from a wages and conditions viewpoint while in employment, and then covet and raid their superannuation savings once they leave the workforce?

A recent letter from a subscriber outlines the frustration and disappointment. “These days everyone wants something for nothing from the government and it is causing governments world-wide to attract the votes of the have-nots. One consequence of a change of government next year will be the end of surplus franking credits. As a baby boomer, I find this disappointing particularly as we have been encouraged to invest for our own retirement. Rules such as these should be kept as all have in good faith acted upon what government has encouraged us to do.” Amen.

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Peter Warnes is Morningstar's head of equities research. Any Morningstar ratings/recommendations contained in this report are based on the full research report available from Morningstar.

 


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is Morningstar's head of equities research.

Any Morningstar ratings/recommendations contained in this report are based on the full research report available from Morningstar.

© 2020 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither Morningstar, its affiliates, nor the content providers guarantee the data or content contained herein to be accurate, complete or timely nor will they have any liability for its use or distribution. This information is to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes only. No reproduction is permitted without the prior written consent of Morningstar. Any general advice or 'class service' have been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892), or its Authorised Representatives, and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information at www.morningstar.com.au/s/fsg.pdf. Our publications, ratings and products should be viewed as an additional investment resource, not as your sole source of information. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product's future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a licensed financial adviser. Some material is copyright and published under licence from ASX Operations Pty Ltd ACN 004 523 782. The article is current as at date of publication.

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