MTAA Super has taken the unusual step of instituting court proceedings against its former chairman, John Rickus, in a case where the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) has intervened.

The case involves a series of allegations by MTAA Super over certain documents given by Rickus to APRA when he was chair of the fund. It is understood that the documents relate to information concerning the linkages between the super fund and its main sponsoring association, the Motor Trades Association of Australia. MTAA Super claims that the documents were the property of the fund and that it should have the right to access them. “The defendant claims that they’re his private documents,” Robert Gardini, chairman of Home Wilkinson Lowry, the law firm representing MTAA Super, said. However, Gardini said MTAA Super held the view that “if the documents ended up relating to its affairs then it has a right to the documents”. The fund does not allege that Rickus should not have handed the documents to APRA. Rickus, while chairman, and Michael Delaney, the MTAA Super chief executive, had disagreed over a long-standing provision of services by the association to the fund. This disagreement is understood to have attracted APRA’s interest. The case had its first hearing in the Federal Court of Australia, Canberra, last Wednesday. MTAA Super is a $6 billion industry fund, with about 267,000 members, which is well known for its strong investment performance following its early adoption of a large allocation to alternative investments. Rickus stepped down in late 2006 after a decade as independent chair of MTAA Super, replaced by ANU chancellor Allan Hawke.

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