Senator names super fund. APRA says it will not
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has consistently refused to name a superannuation fund the subject of Parliamentary Committee questions over alleged multi-million payments to a trade union.
While NSW Liberal Senator and deputy chair of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Andrew Bragg, openly asked about the status of an APRA inquiry into First Super, APRA deputy chair, Margaret Cole, refused to name the fund.
Bragg’s question to Cole referenced $17 million having been paid building industry union, the Construction Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union since 2006.
The First Super board includes five directors nominated by the CFMEU manufacturing division.
However, while confirming a continuing APRA investigation into the issue raised by Bragg, Cole said “we did not name that super fund and I will not name the fund”.
She said that APRA was looking into whether contractual arrangements between the parties were consistent with value for money.
“We are continuing to investigate it thoroughly and will do so further,” Cole said.
Asked by Bragg about where APRA stood on the question of payments by superannuation funds to trade unions, Cole said there were many funds that made payments to related parties and that could include trade unions.
“Superannuation funds require services and they may contract with trade unions and others to provide those services,” she said. “Provided they are appropriate and perform there is no reason to suggest those arrangements are improper.”
“They may be proper and, in most cases, I think they are,” Cole said.
Pressed on the amounts of the payments, Cole said that the amount paid was relevant but that the money paid needed to be commensurate with the services provided.