Su­per trooper

Su­per­an­nu­a­tion: we all need it, but many of us fail to un­der­stand how to ef­fec­tively utilise it. Jonathan Jack­son speaks with Tas­plan CEO Neil Cas­sidy about changes to the su­per­an­nu­a­tion in­dus­try and how one merger could ben­e­fit Tas­ma­nia.

Business First - - CONTENTS -

– Su­per­an­nu­a­tion: we all need it, but many of us fail to un­der­stand how to ef­fec­tively utilise it. Jonathan Jack­son speaks with Tas­plan CEO Neil Cas­sidy about changes to the su­per­an­nu­a­tion in­dus­try and how one merger could ben­e­fit Tas­ma­nia.

Neil Cas­sidy has ei­ther been at the fore­front or been through sev­eral changes to the su­per­an­nu­a­tion in­dus­try and has seen its evo­lu­tion into a freeform sys­tem man­aged by unions and em­ploy­ers, to the Keat­ing La­bor Govern­ment’s su­per­an­nu­a­tion guar­an­tee (SGC), to the Gil­lard Govern­ment’s in­tro­duc­tion of the My Su­per pro­gram which came into ef­fect in Jan­uary this year.

Neil, who in 1972, be­gan his ca­reer in su­per­an­nu­a­tion af­ter mov­ing from coun­try Vic­to­ria to Mel­bourne ex­pe­ri­enced a quick learn­ing curve with T&G and then with Na­tional Mu­tual as the com­pa­nies merged.

It’s not the type of oc­cu­pa­tion a self-con­fessed coun­try boy is likely to take up, how­ever in 1983, just eleven years af­ter he en­tered the in­dus­try, Neil be­came one of the au­thor­i­ties be­hind the de­vel­op­ment of forms and sys­tems that de­fined the cre­ation of in­dus­try su­per funds that are still in use to­day.

“My role was to as­sist in the draft­ing of the en­rol­ment forms for em­ploy­ers and mem­bers,” Neil says of that shift to­wards in­dus­try funds. The emer­gence of in­dus­try funds pro­vided strong, low cost prod­ucts in com­pe­ti­tion with the cor­po­rate and re­tail or­gan­i­sa­tions, which were ex­pen­sive and charged high fees on mem­ber ac­count ac­cu­mu­la­tions on top of a 5% con­tri­bu­tion fee. So the unions stepped in to launch a com­pet­i­tive prod­uct and were able to pro­vide jobs and in­vest­ment. The dif­fi­cult thing at the mo­ment is that the banks are now of­fer­ing su­per­an­nu­a­tion, so the funds are fur­ther pres­sured.”

In 1987 Na­tional Mu­tual ap­proached Neil about mov­ing to Tas­ma­nia to es­tab­lish Tas­plan.

“Fol­low­ing a three year stint in Syd­ney, I said to my wife it would be good to get back into that coun­try en­vi­ron­ment. The ap­point­ment was meant to be for two years and we have been here for 27 years now,” Neil says.

Dur­ing that pe­riod Neil took a four-year sab­bat­i­cal, af­ter Na­tional Mu­tual with­drew its Nexus branch from Tas­ma­nia. In the in­terim he be­came a su­per­an­nu­a­tion con­sul­tant, how­ever in 1998, Neil found him­self drawn back into the cor­po­rate world when he suc­cess­fully ap­plied to be­come gen­eral man­ager of Tas­plan.

To­day Tas­plan’s CEO over­sees a $2.2b fund, in­clud­ing over 100,000 mem­bers and 11,000 em­ploy­ers mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions on be­half of their em­ploy­ees. More growth is in the pipe­line with the pend­ing merger be­tween Tas­plan and Quad­rant. Neil sees this as an im­por­tant

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