I think the Greens have traditionally been supportive of superannuation, and it depends which of the others are there after the election. Michael Bailey: Steve Fielding used to work for a super fund. Minister Bowen: Yeah, although he has expressed some reservations. So I will be spending many hours in their offices. I always am when I try and get difficult legislation through. Colin Tate: Minister, my understanding also is that you’ll be abolishing all forms of volume rebates and platform fees, shelf space fees and the like? Minister Bowen: If they are linked to volume. So anything which incentivises the sale of a particular product. So in some instances – and there’ll need to be some consultation about the finer details of how we frame this in the legislation – but if there are flat payments which don’t in any way incentivise a product, then they would potentially pass the test. But if there is anything which in any way says it’s volume based on rebate et cetera, then that would not pass the test.
Colin Tate: So it’s for the individual or licensee? So such as, my understanding is Count Wealth Group, Barry Lambert’s outfit, who claim to be fee for service. The majority of the parents’ income comes from volume rebates from the white labelled BT wrap platform that they use. And if that was to be abolished, that business therefore, the licensee business, would be non-solvent. Minister Bowen: Well, it applies across the supply chain, so at any stage if it encourages sales, it would not pass the test. Michael Bailey: So a straight shelf-space fee wouldn’t pass the test? A pay-to-play kind of deal? Minister Bowen: Well, it would need to be flat, and not volumebased in any sense. Garry Weaven: How could that possibly be? For example, not volume-based, but if you don’t pay it, you’re not on the shelf? Well, that’s volume-based. Minister Bowen: Well, again, there needs to be a little bit more work about the finer details, but the principle that I’m applying is that if it incentivises sales, then it would not be allowed.
Don Russell: What about individuals working within a company where the incentive is not related to any product, it’s really just a reward for being energetic? It’s a reward for not being slothful. What’s the thinking behind that? Because a lot of businesses – the act of providing advice, where you actually have to go out and find clients, it does require an energy, so a lot of businesses are based around rewarding energy, in that sense. But the best indicator of energy is just the number of new clients. And as long as that isn’t skewed to any particular product, it’s just the more clients, the bigger your return. What’s the thinking about that? Minister Bowen: Again, that was a tricky area in terms of just how to deal with that. You couldn’t have a situation where you ban commissions to non-employees, but allow volume-based bonuses for in-house employees. You couldn’t allow that. So it does apply to inhouse employees.