What can you tell your employees about super?

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It’s a common question asked by employees: “what should I do about my super?” If you are an employer or manager and feel confident of your knowledge of superannuation and investment, it can be tempting to give an answer.

Women in presentation

However, just about anything helpful you have to say will likely fall within the definition of giving financial product advice, and that could land you in very hot water.

The boundaries

Financial product advice is a recommendation or statement of opinion that:

  • is intended to influence a person or persons in making a decision in relation to a financial product or class of products; or
  • could, reasonably be regarded as being intended to have such an influence.

The Corporations Act casts a wide net. Financial product advice can include anything you say about:

  • joining, or making contributions to, a super fund;
  • making additional contributions to a super fund, including by salary sacrifice;
  • switching super funds or combining super accounts; and
  • selecting particular investment or insurance options within a super fund.

The ability to provide advice is generally restricted to holders of an Australian Financial Services Licence or their representatives. Very few employers, or their staff, fall into this category, and giving financial product advice, even inadvertently, could lead to prosecution.

What can you talk about?

You can provide factual information that does not include a recommendation, an opinion, or an intention to influence a person’s decision regarding their super. This allows you to provide information about:

  • employees’ rights and employer obligations;
  • how your employees can tell you what superannuation fund or retirement savings account (RSA) they want their superannuation guarantee contributions paid into; or
  • the employer fund into which you will pay superannuation guarantee contributions if the employee doesn’t nominate a superannuation fund or RSA.

You can also give your employees the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of your default superannuation fund. Just don’t provide any explanation of the material it contains or attempt to recommend the default fund. It’s important that this is understood by all employees – especially Human Resources and Finance teams that are often asked for their opinions on these topics.

How can you help?

None of this precludes you from helping your employees. You just need to go about it the right way.

For example, you can refer employees to a licensed or authorised adviser. Just be sure to disclose any benefit you may gain from making such a referral.

Some super funds – such as TelstraSuper – offer complimentary face-to-face or online seminars about superannuation for the workplace. These tailored sessions usually cover concepts such as the types of super contributions, how superannuation balances are invested, and any insurances included with the account. They’re open sessions – meaning anyone can attend, not just TelstraSuper members.

While you need to be careful to ensure that you aren’t seen to be endorsing (or disapproving) of a fund, this can be a good way to increase the financial literacy of your employees without holding an Australian Financial Services License yourself. It also gives your employees an opportunity to ask questions of a person who is appropriately licensed to answer them.

TelstraSuper is welcoming new employer partners  

TelstraSuper is an award-winning profit-to-member fund that offers employers a superannuation plan to support and nurture their number one asset, their employees.

Insurance with a “best-in-industry” award, the option for employer-paid premiums as an added employer benefit, great performing investment options over the long-term, and tailored financial education are just some of the services TelstraSuper offer. TelstraSuper's vision is to give members and their families the confidence to enjoy a better future than they ever imagined.

If you’re interested in organising an education session for your workplace – or joining the TelstraSuper corporate plan – you can contact us on 1300 544 889 or [email protected]


ASIC website www.asic.gov.au Superannuation advice - What can I tell my employees about making a choice of superannuation fund?

Any general advice has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you act on any general advice, you should consider whether it is appropriate to your individual circumstances. Before making any decision, you should obtain and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination or call us on 1300 033 166 for copies of these documents. You may wish to consult an adviser before you make any decisions relating to your financial affairs. To speak with an Adviser from TelstraSuper Financial Planning call 1300 033 166.