Drivers for change: the future of Australia’s superannuation industry – 2018's National Superannuation Conference

The superannuation industry of 2018 is a dynamic one. A year on from the major superannuation reforms of 2017 there is a continued need for advisers to explore the ongoing challenges and opportunities that those reforms have created. Additionally, a number of significant reviews that are currently underway, combined with the prospect of tax reform both domestically and abroad, point to significant changes on the horizon for the industry.

The Tax Institute’s 2018 National Superannuation Conference in Melbourne this August will provide attendees with outstanding insights into the future direction of our industry and some of the critical technical issues confronting advisers and funds today.

In this post we preview some of the key presentations and speakers to look forward to across the plenary sessions and breakout streams for both large funds and SMSFs.

Treasury keynote and plenary insights

This year’s plenary sessions promise a wealth of insights into the future direction of our superannuation sector. The keynote address will be delivered by Robert Jeremenko, Head of the Treasury’s Retirement Income Policy Division. Robert will discuss both the recent superannuation reforms and possible future developments shaping the sector.

On day two, Paul Howes of KPMG will analyse the impact of 2018’s highest profile reviews: the Financial Services Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission’s review of the competitiveness and efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system.

Paul Howes (KPMG)
These reviews are likely to have substantial implications for the structure of superannuation and wealth management in Australia. Paul, who is the National Sector Leader of Asset & Wealth Management at KPMG, leads KPMG’s work in assisting clients to manage the impacts of the Financial Services Royal Commission. His firm’s latest report into the superannuation sector, KPMG’s Super Insights Report 2018, forecasts material changes in the next 10 years to both the number of funds operating in Australia and the nature of services and products they provide. The regulatory reviews of 2018 may prove to be the accelerant for wholesale industry change.

Closing out this year’s conference, Dr David Knox of Mercer will provide some insights into international approaches to retirement incomes. This analysis will cover several developed economies and focus particularly on the management of longevity risk. David will also explore some potential product responses from Australian funds following the 2018 Budget announcements about new means testing for lifetime products and a new requirement for APRA-regulated funds to develop a retirement income strategy for members. One of the Treasury’s aims in introducing this new requirement is to ensure that funds offer appropriate, high-quality products to members, which should ultimately result in greater choice of products for retirees.

David is a Senior Partner and Senior Actuary at Mercer. He is the National Leader for Research and the actuary to the Tasmanian and Western Australian public-sector superannuation plans, and the author of the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index.

A focus on large funds

Tax reform both domestically and abroad is set to have a significant impact on Australia’s large superannuation funds. In this post, we highlight two key conference sessions in the large fund breakout stream that will guide attendees through the impacts.



The United States has recently passed the country’s most significant tax reforms in decades, including a dramatic cut to the corporate tax rate, among other measures. Michael Doolan of EY will explain the consequences for Australian funds investing into the United States.

Michael's session will focus on implications for existing investment structures and how the reforms might affect future structuring opportunities. Michael will also discuss actions that funds can take now to maximise investment opportunities and mitigate risks.

Based in New York, Micahel is the EY Americas Infrastructure Tax Leader. His principal focus is on the US tax aspects of fund formation, acquisitions and divestitures, principally in the infrastructure sector.

Grant Wardell-Johnson, CTA, of KPMG will offer some observations about global demographic influences on government revenues and drivers for tax reform while examining the potential direction of tax changes in Australia that may affect large funds. This includes general reforms such as changes to imputation, and specific superannuation reforms, including possible measures to address gender imbalances. Against the backdrop of an impending federal election, Grant will also consider potential tax reform policies of the Australian Labor Party.

Grant is the Head of the Australian Tax Centre at KPMG. With a background in international and domestic tax structuring, international cross-border acquisitions and initial public offerings, Grant now leads KPMG’s thought leadership on tax policy and consultation on new law, including the firm’s response to base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and the OECD Action Plan.

Something for SMSFs

This year a number of expert presenters in our SMSF stream will guide attendees through the most critical issues arising from the recent reforms. Attendees will have the chance to hear the ATO’s perspective, grasp the latest issues around the transfer balance cap and understand death benefit planning in the new superannuation environment.

The SMSF stream will also focus on some of the most challenging investment rules confronting SMSFs today. On day one, Daniel Butler, CTA, of DBA Lawyers will discuss recent reforms to the non-arm’s length income (NALI) rules that expand this penalty tax regime to transactions involving non-arm’s length expenditure. This topic is of immediate relevance to all SMSF advisers, particularly because these reforms come amidst increased compliance activity by the ATO in this area.

The session will cover the traditional application of the NALI rules, as well as the impact of the recent reforms and practical issues to consider. Daniel will highlight key issues such as income received via trusts, including the fixed versus non-fixed trust distinction, and the application of the rules to limited recourse borrowing arrangements.

Daniel is recognised as one of Australia’s leading SMSF lawyers. With over 30 years’ experience in tax and superannuation, he is a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser and Chartered Accountant, and holds an MBA from the University of Melbourne.
Clinton Jackson (Cooper Grace Ward)

Property investment remains incredibly popular with SMSF trustees, and that perennial client question – “Can I undertake a property development in my SMSF?” – takes on new importance as the ATO signals that it will apply greater scrutiny to development arrangements. 

Clinton Jackson of Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers will take attendees through the various compliance issues that arise in respect of a property development, whether it involves a related party or independent builder, a joint venture or some other arrangement. This session will also canvass alternative structuring options.

Clinton is a partner in Cooper Grace Ward’s commercial team with a unique range of expertise. An accredited specialist superannuation adviser with the SMSF Association, he also advises clients on an extensive range of corporate and tax matters.

We look forward to you joining us on 30–31 August at The Langham, Melbourne for this premier superannuation industry event.

Our 26 expert presenters will deliver an exceptional technical program over four plenary sessions and two breakout streams (large fund and SMSF – eight sessions in each).

A cocktail function at the conclusion of day one, closing drinks and regular conference breaks will also provide ample opportunities to network with other delegates.

For more information, and to register, visit our website.

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