I’ve been involved in superannuation since industry funds were established for working people in the late 1980s.
Over those years, many high-minded national inquiries have implied that it’s a terrible thing to be disengaged from your super. You should be taking a lively, direct, hands-on approach.
Well, there’s another side to that argument – and in my view, it’s one of the great things about the system we have in Australia for managing the superannuation accounts of millions of people.
Instead of each of us trying to out-compete each other in often confusing markets in the hope that we’ll be looking down our noses at our less-adept neighbours in 40 years time, fortunately we’ve established a system where we ask Trustees to look after it for us.
A Trustee is a fiduciary. That word comes from the Latin word for ‘faithful’ and it revolves around the question of trust.
It means, simply, that you trust another person of skill and goodwill to look after your growing retirement assets on your behalf. You rely on Trustee directors to have your interests solely at heart in the investment decisions they make.
For those of you who have been following recent political news, you’ll know that attempts to force financial planners to act at all times in the best interests of their clients – who are often superannuation fund members – have been watered down by the Federal Government.
That’s surely unconscionable.
Surely all financial planners should be required by law to act in the best interests of their clients, all of the time. That would hopefully obviate the recent need for compensation schemes.
Media Super’s financial planners are representatives of Industry Fund Services Ltd. and are not paid commissions or bonuses and so will act in your best interests.
We are an ‘all profit to members’ industry fund. We love profit, but believe it should all be distributed to our members, not to shareholders.
So who can you trust?
My money is on people who are committed to a system of trust.
Over the years Media Super’s Board of Trustees have worked hard together to ensure your interests are their uppermost concern. This year, the fund produced an 11.08% return. Last year it was 14.7%. But the markets are very volatile, so expect these unusually high figures to come down. Our long-term results, since the fund was set up in the 1980s, have been 8.30% each year on average. Good luck in trying to emulate that, year on year, if you want to manage it yourself. You’re perfectly entitled to do so, and Media Super allows members (and encourages those who wish) to choose from a large range of investment options, including a self-managed option.
But luckily, you can also choose – or not choose, by doing very little – to have it managed by people who are committed to looking after your interests. They’re called Trustees, and in my view, they do a great job.
Chairperson Media Super