Action call on energy ads
THE federal opposition has stepped up calls for the finance regulator to investigate whether a planned advertising blitz by industry-backed superannuation funds can be considered politically motivated.
THE federal opposition has stepped up calls for the finance regulator to investigate whether a planned advertising blitz by industry-backed superannuation funds can be considered politically motivated.The Age last month reported that a business owned by the 16 industry superannuation funds was planning a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign highlighting investments in clean energy.The campaign has been planned to coincide with the Gillard government's own advertising campaign on the carbon tax.Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb has written to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman, John Laker, arguing such a campaign could erode confidence in the nation's superannuation system.The $2 million advertising blitz is to be fronted by Industry Funds Management, an asset manager that is owned by the nation's 16 industry superannuation funds. IFM manages almost $30 billion in retirement savings on behalf of five million members.It owns several clean energy companies such as Pacific Hydro and wind farms."Any suggestions that industry funds or their subsidiaries are planning advertising campaigns that could be deemed to be politically motivated without the approval of members, serves only to erode public confidence in the system," Mr Robb said in the letter, obtained by The Age."Unlike individual holdings in listed companies where shareholders have the option to simply sell shares in entities, which act in ways that do not meet their approval or performance expectations, the members of industry superannuation funds held in trust do not have that same flexibility," he said.A spokesman for APRA declined to comment on the letter.