||Issue No. 192||22 August 2003|
Flexing the Muscles
Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
The Locker Room
A Harsh Lesson
Axe The Max
India On A Dollar A Day
Socialists Give Banks a Kicking
As the Howard administration tries to undermine industry super funds by the back door, the latest performance analysis shows trade union-backed industry funds wiping the floor with with private enterprise competitors.
New figures from Super Ratings reveal that, in the five years to June 30, every one of Australia's 10 top-performing super schemes was an industry fund.
The average industry fund returned 5.5 percent a year, nearly double the 3 percent margin for retail funds and master trusts.
Leading business commentator, Alan Kohler, summed up the implications, this week, in a column headed "Socialists beat capitalists - by about $100bn".
"There's an awkward secret at the centre of Australia's superannuation system: the socialists are winning," Kohler wrote.
"Looked at another way, the failure of Australia's banks and private master trusts to beat the union-linked industry funds on investment performance is close to being a national scandal. Those people being herded into retail funds by their employers are losing a fortune because their trustees are not making the decisions that count."
Yet Federal Government, paranoid about the size and success of industry funds, has moved again to open them to contestability.
After repeated failure to get enabling legislation through the Senate, Canberra is now moving to change the rules by regulation, something the Labor Party has pledged to fight.
Industry funds not only offer better returns but significantly cheaper entry and administration fees.
Union industry funds representatives fear those facts will be drowned, if Government has its way, as banks and other financial institutions pour millions of dollars into glossy advertising campaigns.
"It's rather ironic," Kohler writes "when you consider the main concern in the late 1980s and early 1990s when (Paul) Keating and (Bill) Kelty were extending the nanny state to savings was that the union-dominated funds would either by hopeless or waste our money on socialist causes."
Meanwhile, the ACTU has flagged a campaign to eventually lift employer super contributions to 15 percent.
The "superannuation safety net" policy will kick off with job-by-job demands for contributions to be raised from nine to 10 percent in the next round of enterprise bargaining.
ACTU delegates endorsed the campaign at last week's triennial conference in Melbourne.
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