National Mutual under spotlight

by Chris Griffith
Published 28 May 1993 in The Sun-Herald


my face


Superannuation giant National Mutual will give evidence in Brisbane tomorrow when a federal senate committee resumes its public inquiry into a Queensland union's superannuation fund.

Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation, Senator Nick Sherry (ALP, Tas), yesterday said the Committee would release its report into the Queensland Professional Officers' Association (QPOA) superannuation fund 'within a fortnight'.

Alleged irregularities in the fund were detailed last November in a report tabled in the Queensland Parliament by Superannuation and Actuaries Consultants Towers Perrin.

The Towers Perrin report criticised the trustees' actions

claiming evidence of four extraordinary withdrawals in 1987, the retrospective amendment of the Trust Deed in 1990 which validated the withdrawals, breaches of Occupational Superannuation

standards, and the fund's non-compliance with its Trust Deed.

Further reports by Towers Perrin and the Insurance and Superannuation Commission were tabled at the Senate Committee's earlier Brisbane hearing on April 29. They contained additional evidence of the overpayment of benefits and criticism that the fund's reserve had accumulated above an allowable limit of 15 per cent.

National Mutual, who managed the fund on behalf of the

Association, is expected to reply to a Towers Perrin allegation that the corporation could not locate the Benefit Payment Request and calculations supporting the four 1987 transfers to personal superannuation funds.

"A print out of all previous but now discontinued members of the Fund run on 30 November 1992 showed that ... National Mutual had no record of the reason for the pay outs. These were the only cases where no such records were held," Towers Perrin said.

The Committee tomorrow will hear evidence from Towers Perrin's Mr Mike O'Neill, National Mutual's Mr Peter Grace and Mr Bruce Webb, former fund trustee Mr Cecil Lee, and Mr Gordon Rutherford, a former fund member.

Senator Sherry said seven bills dealing with superannuation reform were tabled in the House of Representatives on Thursday and would be debated later this year.

He said the inquiry would last about half a day. The Committee would spend the rest of its two days in Brisbane finalising its report on superannuation fees, charges and commissions.