Super speed in response to superannuation legislation changes

In response to changing economic conditions at the start of the coronavirus crisis, the Australian Government announced a number of changes to superannuation legislation.

The Government announced the new legislation in March, with two key changes to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. The first change introduced the temporary halving of pension minimums.

The second change was the temporary relaxation of rules around accessing super for hardship and compassionate reasons.

Super funds were only provided around four weeks’ notice to adjust processes to be able to make the new payments. There are also mere days to pay out members who want this access to their retirement savings once the ATO has advised a member is entitled to a payment. Our Australian super fund clients needed to understand how to process this new type of release immediately to be able to support their members and avoid further financial distress to those impacted.

Speed to decipher and action

With over 27 million super fund accounts across Australia, it was critical to build the new legislation into our superannuation software as fast as possible, so funds could test and install a solution rapidly to support their members.

We created an FAQ site and communicated with every client about the proposed changes, hours before the bills were passed in Parliament. We also provided immediate tactical solutions that were available for clients, at no extra cost to their business.

Automated digital solutions to support those affected

An automated solution for processing compassionate payments has been delivered to clients and was successfully implemented by several clients before the first tranche of payment requests were issued by the ATO. In the first couple of days of the ATO issuing payment determinations, around 20,000 payment requests were received by our clients and we anticipate that this number will accelerate over the coming days and weeks. With the automated solution, our clients have managed to quickly process the payments to the benefit of those members suffering financial distress.

We have also updated our Acurity Online member portal and superannuation administration software Acurity Registry to support the new pension minimums legislation. This means pensioners can now elect to reduce their pension directly through their chosen super fund’s member portal.

We are in regular contact with our clients and continue to maintain a real-time FAQ page to keep clients informed during these challenging times. We are also keeping in close contact with the ATO to further streamline the process and troubleshoot any issues that arise as our clients start to process the first tranches of payments.