UNION-BACKED superannuation funds are calling for sweeping new rules requiring fund managers to reveal their pay packets, with research showing the sector receives $6.2 billion a year for managing the nation's retirement savings.
Top fund managers whom super funds contract to manage assets can make anywhere between $500,000 and several million dollars a year.
But what individual managers are paid is often kept secret, sparking calls for reform within the industry.
In new research commissioned by Industry Super Network, Rainmaker found almost a third of the $20 billion that super members paid in fees each year about $6.2 billion went to fund managers.
ISN chief executive David Whiteley said this high share of fees underlined the need for extending laws that would require super funds to reveal more details about their board members to the funds management industry.
"It is appropriate that members know the names and backgrounds of directors and executives of their fund and their remuneration arrangements," Mr Whiteley said.
"It is equally appropriate that members are able to find the names, backgrounds and remuneration of board directors and senior executives of fund managers, platform operators and other service providers whether related parties or external providers."
Under forthcoming laws, the government will push for some fund managers to pay back bonuses in the case of underperformance, but it has not committed to requiring that all fees be disclosed.
The Financial Services Council, which represents retail funds, has resisted the call for tougher rules, saying the disclosure of total investment fees was more relevant to members.
According to Rainmaker, many of the biggest investment managers in Australia are owned by the big banks and financial houses.
Aside from the taxpayer-owned Future Fund, the biggest managers are AMP Capital Investors, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, State Street Global Advisors Australia, and MLC Investment Management, the report said.