The Stronger Super reforms needed to engage more with employers as a critical part of the superannuation industry, according to Westpac’s Emma Dobson.

Dobson, the bank’s director of global transactional services and a member of the government’s SuperStream advisory council, says she believes that too much of the Stronger Super focus has been on “front end issues” at the expense of the system’s foundations.

“Super does pivot around the employers, because at a very basic level it is their ability to meet their obligation to employees which is the foundation of our system,” Dobson told IM Online.

“There has been a lot of focus on the funds and there will continue to be, but we need to get the visibility out there to the employers, because as I travel around the country I see that this is an issue.”

Dobson said that she had met one employer, with 127 employees, which had been dealing with 117 different superannuation funds – a talk which required almost one full-time equivalent person to manage.

Another fund had had a superannuation cheque for an employee rebound five years after the check was dated, and well after the employee had left that company.

“These issues show how crucial the SuperStream changes are going to be in dramatically improving things for employers,” said Dobson. Westpac is one of the largest clearers of employer superannuation contributions in Australia.

“If you talk to employers there are two things they want – good results for their employees but also they want it to be easier to do business with the super system and that is critical and is where SuperStream will come in.

“The message I am getting is that a we need a lot more dialogue to come through with employers, because there is still quite a bit of misinformation out there.”

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