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APRA asked to investigate $2.8m super payment to CFMEU

Mike Taylor5 June 2024
Magnifying glass over bank notes

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been asked to get to the bottom of why industry fund FIRST Super has made four $700,000 payments to construction industry union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

The regulator has also been asked to explain what progress has been made with respect to an investigation it has been undertaking into superannuation funds payments which APRA admitted had been underway for two years with no specific outcome.

Facing a Senate Estimates Committee hearing yesterday, APRA deputy chair, Margaret Cole declined to answer specific questions from NSW Liberal Senator, Andrew Bragg, on the basis that APRA’s activities related to an ongoing investigation.

On the question of the four $700,000 payments Bragg said had been by First Super to the CFMEU to cover “contractor costs”, Cole said that she would take it as a question on notice.

Both Cole and APRA chair, John Lonsdale insisted that the regulator would be holding the trustees of superannuation funds to account to explain expenditures and whether money paid to trade unions was being spent in members’ best interests.

Bragg also raised the question of superannuation funds pay entities such as the Industry Funds Services (IFS) and the Super Members Council (SMC) suggesting they were bodies which could be used by industry superannuation funds to get around the law.

Cole said that while APRA did not regulate industry bodies or peak bodies, it did regulate the issue of superannuation funds paying money to such bodies.

Cole and Lonsdale signalled that APRA would soon be issuing new guidance around fund expenditures, with Cole also suggesting that decisions around moneys paid by superannuation funds to trade unions might also come under more scrutiny via the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR).

She noted that when the regime is imposed on superannuation funds next year it will cover the persons responsible for marketing and advertising decisions providing greater visibility.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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Corrupt Regulators
1 month ago

APRA and ASIC totally out of control.
Happy to let their best buddies at Industry Super do what ever they want and pay Union kick backs whenever they desire.
ZERO REGULATION OF INDUSTRY SUPER AND
ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY OF APRA & ASIC.
The Canberra swamp STINKS to high heaven

Far canal
1 month ago

And yet ASIC hounded and prosecuted Sam Harrison over his credentials and some grammatical issues, without a single client being hurt nor any fraudulent or excessive fees charged!

This payment is the tip of the iceberg, every real planner knows the industry funds are a ponzi scheme bigger than Maddoff’s waiting to blow apart and make Australia a third world country with massive elder wealth disappearing completely. (Hence why the AustralianSuper CEO wants to get his hands on retirees Age Pension payments and home equity via reverse mortgages, to shore up some of that inflow problem!)

Huh
1 month ago
Reply to  Far canal

Do you mean Henderson? He had a staff member commit fraud mate so that was an issue

Fred
1 month ago
Reply to  Huh

Whilst fraud isn’t ever acceptable it also didn’t cost anyone $2.8M to the best of my knowledge. One got the bullet very quickly, the other gets nothing to date, not really consistent.

Nick
1 day ago

In lieu of the revelations on 60 Minutes last night – will there be a focus by regulators into this? Surely….