The efforts of Michael Delaney to sell the MTAA Superannuation Fund the rights to its own name were challenged last week, when all the state-based motoring associations met with MTAA Super chair Allan Hawke in Sydney.

The transfer of the ‘MTAA’ name from Motor Trades Association of Australia Limited (MTAA Limited) to the super fund was first suggested by Delaney, who is the chief executive of both. In a January 11 letter to the Association’s directors,  he suggested the copyright act as payment if MTAA Super’s trustee company agreed to insource the secretarial services currently provided to it by MTAA Limited, in doing so assuming the floundering Association’s staff entitlements.

MTAA Limited has been in dire financial straits since the NSW motor trader’s association pulled out of the national body late last year, joining its Queensland and Victoria/Tasmania equivalents in a protest against the perceived conflict of interest in the secretarial services contract. The NSW withdrawal cost MTAA Limited $600,000 per year in fees, leaving the $1.2 million annual profit on the super fund contract as its only major revenue source. The amount transferred from MTAA Super members to MTAA Limited under that contract has ballooned from just over $2 million in 2004 to nearly $8 million in 2009.

In an email sent to Allan Hawke and state association directors following last Friday’s meeting, obtained by I&T News, MTA-Queensland executive director Ian Field repeated his contention that “the name MTAA Superannuation Fund…does not belong to MTAA Limited, as claimed by Michael Delaney, it belongs to the MTAA Super trustee company…which includes as shareholders the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), MTA-Queensland and MTA-NSW. Any arrangements to protect the brand name…must by necessity include all the owners of the name.

“Further MTAA Limited is registered as a not-for-profit organisation. It was never the intention, to my knowledge as a representative of of one of the foundation members of that body, to make a profit from our sponsorship of the MTAA Super fund. It therefore follows that MTAA Super fund does not have to pay anyone for the use of the name. It is the name of the Trustee. It is also the name in which all licences are held. As a member of the fund, I would not want the Trustee to expend members’ funds on spurious copyright claims.”

The progress of Delaney’s proposal to have MTAA Super take over MTAA Limited is unclear at this point, with neither he nor MTAA Super chair Allan Hawke available for comment yesterday.

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