Royal commission to examine industry fund advertising

At the opening of its superannuation hearings today, counsel assisting the royal commission has announced it will investigate the funding of controversial advertising campaigns financed by industry super funds.

The fifth round of hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry kicked off in Melbourne this morning, with Michael Hodge QC laying the parameters of its focus on the conduct of superannuation trustees.

Among a number of thorny subjects, Mr Hodge revealed that the commission will be assessing possible conflicts of interest and breaches of the ‘sole purpose test’ relating to trustees’ financial support of lobbying group Industry Super Australia and its marketing activity.

Specifically, the royal commission will examine the case of 2017’s controversial ‘Compare the Pair’ ad, which inferred that banks operating in the superannuation sector was akin to a “fox in the hen house”.


ISA’s ‘compare the pair’ campaign has often also criticised the independent financial advice sector in the past.

The commission will also examine the case of The New Daily, a digital news website owned by Industry Super Holdings.

A live blog of proceedings hosted by ifa sister titles Nest Egg and InvestorDaily noted that a recent article on the superannuation hearings published by The New Daily did not mention any industry funds until the fifth paragraph.

Mr Hodge also noted the commission will place its attention on financial advice provided by super funds, which follows ASIC's announcement last month that it will commence a probe into intra-fund financial advice.

For more on the parameters of the superannuation hearings, and live coverage of proceedings, please visit:

Royal commission to examine industry fund advertising
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