Will more transparency in super funds mean we have more say?

From July next year, superannuation funds are required to tell their members what investments are held in the fund. The question is, along with letting us know what they have bought on our behalf, will the funds also let us know whether they are discussing issues with management and, if so, what they discussed? Will they ask us what we think?

History does not bode well.

In 2008, a Parliamentary Committee found that institutional investors, such as superannuation funds, made decisions about whether to engage with companies based primarily on the economic cost to them. Some found engagement to be a distraction from generating investment returns. These conclusions followed earlier research in 1998  that showed active participation in company decision-making was not high on the agenda of most institutional investors. It found voting decisions made by these institutions were not transparent or prioritised.

So when we get access to all this information, what will it actually mean? Will we have any idea how long shares in companies have been held? Whether there has been any engagement with the management and whether they are engaging on issues that matter to their members.
If you had the chance to influence the senior managements of Australia’s biggest banks, Telstra or the big supermarkets, what would be most important issues to you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s