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.
– 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