If measures proposed by the Cooper review of the superannuation industry are accepted by the federal government, super funds may be forced to jettison their alternative investments a research firm says.
Chant West, an industry consultant says that superannuation assumptions made by the Cooper review were an unrealistic reflection of the costs associated with the management of an alternative investment portfolio, which can include private equity, hedge funds and unlisted property.
The results of a new survey suggest that under pressure from clients, financial planners and advisers have begun to avoid managed funds. According to the results of the report, planners are increasingly investing money directly into equities and other listed investments.
Investment Trends (IT), a market research firm which authored the report said that unlisted managed funds gained ground over the last year, and only half of the cash collected by planners was invested in managed fund, down 62 per cent from the previous year.
One of the largest global managers of fixed income securities, Pimco, says that Australia now offers the most investment opportunities in the developed world.
During one of its regular updates to the global bond markets, David Fisher who runs global product management for Pimco also said there was a “new normal environment”, which looked much different to that of previous decades.
Jeremy Cooper, the former deputy chairman of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and author of the controversial government review of the Australian superannuation system, has defended his plan for low cost MySuper accounts.
The accounts are intended as a default for people who do not select a retirement fund. Mr. Cooper who made his comments during a luncheon organized by the Australian Superannuation Funds Association in Melbourne, said that the criticism that his plan was paternalistic could in fact be applied to the entire concept of superannuation.
Volatile global financial markets that plunged in the aftermath of the European sovereign default crisis have consumed the highly anticipated bounce in super fund returns.
The drop in financial markets is likely to result in investment earnings falling below double digits for the financial year, ending at about 9.6 per cent.
The Australian Stock Exchange, which with ASIC acts as a corporate regulator says it intends to monitor portfolio and mutual fund managers closely, as it seeks to stamp out the practice of window dressing.
Window dressing typically occurs at the end of the financial year and is a deliberate strategy managers engage in of price manipulation which dresses up the performance of the portfolio or fund before presenting the performance to clients or unit holders.
A majority of Australians say they are in favour of the government’s decision to implement proposals that would increase the national superannuation rate, whilst more than half of all Australians say they are willing to sacrifice their wages to fund the measure.
The superfund industry has expressed its pleasure at the government’s decision to increase the super guarantee to 12 per cent, but says it is disappointed at the length of time it will take to implement the change.
Once again, the superannuation sector is resisting government proposals that would change the industry, and is strongly dissenting against any move towards a compulsory government annuity scheme, in which retired investors can hand either all or part of their superannuation and receive an annual income.
The level of confidence Australians have in the superannuation industry has fallen to its lowest level, with many worrying that they will not have enough retirement income following the global financial crisis, which reaped havoc on super fund balances.