Expectations are high following Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd’s pre-election promises to raise super contributions, cut red tape, boost exports for Australian financial services, and turn Australia into a regional financial hub.

Industry bodies IFSA, ASFA and the FPA announced their congratulations yesterday, saying that they looked forward to working with the new Labor government. Funds managers are looking forward to more money to play with – Brad Pragnell, principle policy advisor at ASFA, said the body plans to continue working with Labor to raise the co-contribution threshold, making super top-ups more attractive to middle-income earners. Andrew Boal, managing director at Watson Wyatt Australia said: “we would like to see the co-contribution extended to cover individuals earning between 50 per cent and at least 150 per cent of average earnings.” Regarding red tape, Labor’s disclosure reforms are eagerly anticipated across the industry, as it plans to streamline disclosure documentation and continue the improvement of e-commerce. There are also plans to establish a superannuation clearing house to reduce the administrative burden on employers. According to a Mercer report, however, Labor is unlikely to remove choice of fund – which has increased admin costs for many employers – and will be generally supportive of the “Better Super” changes. Richard Gilbert, chief executive officer at IFSA, said it welcomed campaign commitments to boost financial service exports, with the reduction of withholding tax, a review of the Managed Investment Tax Regime, and brokering a national uniform state stamp duty regime on life insurance products likely to bring down barriers discouraging foreign capital from investing in Australian financial services.

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