Super funds which sit alongside MTAA Super as defaults in motor industry modern awards have been approaching executives from the Australian Automotive Industry Association (AAIA), which broke away from the MTAA in May taking 80 per cent of the membership with it, trying to convince them to divert employer contributions away from the Canberra-based fund.

Both the head of the Motor Traders Association of NSW, James McCall, and MTA Queensland, Ian Field, confirmed the approaches but said they remained loyal to the $6 billion MTAA Super for now.

McCall said the AAIA members’ quarrel had never been with MTAA Super, especially now that its chief executive, Michael Delaney, was not also running the MTAA – which is still the super fund’s biggest service provider, although the contract under which it supplied MTAA Super with all its staff is winding down over the next 12 months.

The deputy executive director of MTAA Super, Leeanne Turner, said Delaney was officially employed by the fund on May 14, however he was the only staffer to have been transferred at this stage, as the trustee board continued to review its requirements.

Neither AAIA executive would name the funds approaching them to unseat MTAA Super, although McCall confirmed they were among those listed alongside it on relevant industry awards. For example, the Motor Vehicle Salespersons Award lists REST, AustralianSuper and ASSET Super as alternative default funds.

MTA Queensland’s Field said a recommendation to divert default contributions from MTAA Super “isn’t one we would make lightly”, and he could only imagine it happening if the MTAA attempted to extract royalties from the super fund for use of its logo and associated intellectual property.

This idea has previously been floated by Michael Delaney, however the AAIA executives had no evidence it was being implemented, and McCall doubted that APRA – which is understood to be watching MTAA Super closely – would allow it to happen.

“MTAA Super doesn’t owe the MTAA a cent. When MTA-NSW left the MTAA [in December 2009] we were paying 62 per cent of its subscriptions. The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce had its own super fund which it rolled into MTAA Super, as did MTA-NSW, so we were the ones that provided the resources to make the fund a success.”

The AAIA executives doubted they would have any input into the replacement of MTAA Super chair, Allan Hawke, who resigned on August 26 citing health reasons. On September 3, Hawke was appointed by ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope to review the Territory’s public service.

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