17 Sep 2013

Superannuation and financial services will likely fall under the Treasury portfolio, a decision that industry bodies have welcomed.

Joe Hockey as Treasurer and Arthur Sinodinos as Assistant Treasurer are likely to oversee the superannuation and financial services industry, which would lose its own portfolio and fall gain under Treasury.

The decision is part of what Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called a “title deflation” and a move away from the Labor initiative to give superannuation and financial services its own portfolio.

The exact powers of each portfolio are expected to be specified tomorrow, when the cabinet swears in and the new government releases the portfolio’s administrative arrangements.

“Senator Sinodinos has extensive experience in the finance and banking sector, the Department of Treasury and Finance, and as a former chief of staff to the Prime Minister,” Industry Super Network (ISN) chair Peter Collins said.

“This depth of experience will serve the superannuation sector well.”

Collins said that ISN is encouraged “by the new Government’s commitment to no adverse unexpected changes and look forward to working constructively on the detail of the changes that have been announced.”

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive Mark Rantall also welcomed the appointments and hoped that the new government “has a window to develop innovative policies to support the greater financial wellbeing of Australians and those entrusted to maximise their discretionary and retirement outcomes.”

“We support the inclusion of financial services as part of the Treasurer’s portfolio and welcome new Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and acknowledge the efforts of former shadow Minister Matthias Cormann in the financial services portfolio,” Rantall said.

“There is a positive flip side to building a strong and viable financial planning profession including long-term systemic benefits to the economy, a reduction on the public social security purse and a population of Australians better enabled to take control of their financial future.”

The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) assumed that Sinodinos will be responsible for superannuation in his role as Assistant Treasurer and welcomed the decision.

“We congratulate Mr Sinodinos on his appointment to this important role at a time when SMSFs have become the single biggest sector of Australia’s superannuation pool of retirement savings and are also integral to the small business sector,” SPAA chief executive Andrea Slattery said.

An article in the Financial Standard written by Laura Milan.

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