The trustee of MTAA Super will directly employ its secretariat staff for the first time, as the fate of previous secretarial provider MTAA Ltd is shaped by a national meeting of motoring associations later this month, while the future of both organisations’ founder and boss, Michael Delaney, remains the subject of intense speculation.

In a letter to MTAA Super members and employers on March 24, chair Allan Hawke said the Trustee had decided to sever its service agreement with MTAA Ltd for the provision of the secretariat, an arrangement in place since the fund’s inception in 1989.

“This arrangement reflected the mutuality of the secretariat requirements of both the peak industry body representing the retail motor trades and the fund,” Hawke wrote.

“The trustee has recently decided that the arrangement no longer meets the requirements of a mature fund in a changing superannuation environment and, after considering a number of alternatives, it has decided to directly employ those secretariat staff members who have, in practice, been dedicated to fund business.”

He promised further details in MTAA Super’s 2010 annual report.

The chief executive of the Motor Traders Association of NSW, James McCall, applauded the move to disentangle the super fund and the peak body, which it left last year (joining its Queensland and Victoria/Tasmania equivalents) but may now be inclined to rejoin.

“MTAA Limited is basically a union of employers, while the super fund is there for the employees. Inevitably matters will arise where something that benefits employees is a detriment to employers, so it’s best not to have the two bodies dependent on each other,” McCall said.

Members of MTAA Super would probably end up paying less for secretarial services once they were insourced by MTAA Super, he said, because for several years a margin had been built in to the fund’s contract with MTAA Limited to recompense the peak body’s underlying state associations, in recognition of their subsidising the fund in its early years.

Another good outcome of the move would be if it made the peak motor trades body “less expensive and bureaucratic”, McCall said, pointing out that MTAA Ltd had grown over the years to about a dozen people now working on Association matters (many of these also perform tasks for the super fund).

“We’ve said for a long time that the national secretariat only really needed a good lobbyist in Canberra – and Michael Delaney is definitely that – and an assistant for that person. MTA-NSW was paying $600,000 dues a year and we just couldn’t see the value, there was overlap with the work already being done by the state associations.”

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