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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Financial System >> Pension funds

Pension funds have been established to provide retirement benefits for their members. Members make contributions during their employment and receive the benefits of this form of saving in retirement. In order to receive concessional taxation treatment, a pension fund must elect to be regulated under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act). These funds are supervised by either APRA or the ATO. Public sector funds, being funds sponsored by a government employer or government controlled business enterprise, are exempt from direct APRA supervision.

The largest number of pension funds comprise self-managed superannuation funds (also known as 'do it yourself' funds). From 1 July 2000 the ATO assumed responsibility for regulating self-managed superannuation funds.

Self-managed superannuation funds are superannuation funds:

  • that have less than five members; and
  • all members are trustees; and
  • all trustees are members; and
  • no member of the fund is an employee of another member of the fund, unless they are related; and
  • no trustee receives remuneration for their services as a trustee.

Corporate funds are funds sponsored by a single non-government employer, or group of employers. Industry funds generally have closed memberships restricted to the employees of a particular industry and are established under an agreement between the parties to an industrial award. Public sector funds are those funds sponsored by a public sector employer. Retail funds are pooled superannuation products sold through an intermediary to the general public. Funds with less than five members but which do not qualify as self-managed superannuation funds are known as small APRA funds.

In addition to separately constituted funds, the SIS Act also provides for special accounts operated by financial institutions earmarked for superannuation contributions, known as Retirement Savings Accounts, that also qualify for concessional taxation under the supervision of APRA. The liabilities represented by these accounts are liabilities of the institutions concerned and are included with the relevant institution in this chapter (for example retirement savings accounts operated by banks are included in bank deposits in table 26.4), but are also footnoted in table 26.8 for completeness.

The number of pension funds is shown in table 26.7. The assets of pension funds are shown in table 26.8 and include unfunded pension claims by pension funds on the Commonwealth Government where these have been formally recognised in accounting systems. The assets in the table do not include any provision for the pension liabilities of Australian governments to public sector employees in respect of unfunded retirement benefits. At 30 June 2001 the ABS estimate for claims by households on government for these outstanding liabilities was $121.1b.


26.7 PENSION FUNDS(a), Number of Funds - 30 June 2001

Type of fund
Total

Corporate
3,235
Industry
139
Public sector
94
Retail
274
Small APRA funds
(a)8,100
Self managed superannuation funds
(a)214,700
Total
(a)226,500

(a) Approximate number.

Source: APRA and ATO.


26.8 PENSION FUNDS(a), Financial Assets

June 1999

$m
June 2000

$m
June 2001

$m

Currency and deposits
27,817
26,700
32,441
Bills of exchange
7,180
6,055
6,249
One name paper
12,634
13,651
11,751
Bonds
30,579
35,979
35,605
Loans and placements
12,750
15,645
17,012
Equities
153,161
198,922
221,990
Unfunded superannuation claims
6,093
7,009
5,794
Net equity of pension funds in life office reserves
90,245
108,072
115,874
Other accounts receivable
4,167
4,471
4,338
Total
344,626
416,504
451,054

Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

(a) Retirement savings accounts were valued at $404m at 30 June 2001 (APRA).

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