Push to reveal fund manager pay

Fund managers would be forced to disclose their pay packets under proposed new laws.

Fund managers would be forced to disclose their pay packets under proposed new laws.

FUND managers would be forced to disclose their pay packets under proposed new laws aimed at boosting transparency in the $1.3 trillion superannuation system.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon is preparing legislation designed to give fund members more information about their retirement savings, including more disclosure of fund manager pay.

Top fund managers can earn millions of dollars a year for managing Australia's super savings, but details of their pay are closely guarded in what Senator Xenophon described as an ''anomaly''.

''The transparency framework for super funds hasn't caught up with their exponential growth or their critical importance to the savings of millions of Australians,'' Senator Xenophon said.

''If you're pocketing millions of dollars in fees from handling billions of dollars of other people's money, what's wrong with disclosing that? These fund managers need to be accountable.''

Senator Xenophon, who will aim to release the draft legislation next month, said disclosure could be boosted without adding unnecessary red tape.

But any move towards greater disclosure is opposed by the industry, which argues fund manager salaries are ''proprietary information'' and should be kept confidential. The Financial Services Council also argues that the fees paid by members from their super funds are already disclosed and are more relevant, a stance backed by Mathias Cormann, the Coalition's shadow assistant treasurer.

''In super, we believe that remuneration where paid from the super fund should be disclosed,'' he told BusinessDay.

When asked to comment on the issue, Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten said: ''Better disclosure should be the aim of all those who operate in the financial services industry.''

According to IBISWorld, Australia's super fund management industry is on track to reap $9.4 billion in revenue from fund members this financial year, in what would be the sector's best year since 2008.

Listed companies are required to disclose the pay packets of key management personnel in their annual reports. Most listed fund management groups do not include their top fund managers, even when they earn more than those executives whose salaries are made public.

One exception is British-based First State, whose parent company Commonwealth Bank disclosed the salaries of top-earning members of its investment teams in its 2011 annual report.

These included Martin Lau, director greater China equities, whose $7.6 million total package was boosted by almost $7 million in long-term incentives, and Stuart Paul, joint managing partner of the Asia Pacific and global emerging markets equity team, whose total package of $8.2 million included almost $7.3 million worth of long-term incentives.

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