Independence and the Governance of Superannuation Funds
The Australian government has identified a policy need to increase the independence and improve the governance of superannuation boards. This is also addressed by the Financial System Inquiry in its recommendation #13.
While independence is frequently seen as a panacea for all ills, it is just as often under-theorised and poorly understood. Both the advantages and complexities associated with making independence in the superannuation industry work effectively should be addressed and supported by appropriate structures, processes and expertise.
The study aims to address how board member independence can be used effectively to improve governance structures in publicly offered superannuation funds. Applying a socio–legal approach, and drawing on theoretical and empirical data, the research seeks to address:
1. What is ‘independence’ in the context of superannuation governance ?
2. What approaches, supports, processes and expertise are required to ensure that independence delivers appropriate benefits, recognising the practical issues in the superannuation arena?