Sir Bob Geldof closed off proceedings at CMSF 2013 with a plea to Australia’s superannuation industry to invest in the developing world, particularly Africa. The activist also urged industry to increase engagement with its members to impact policy.

“One of the things you should be doing [is] going to the developing countries. You should be putting money into them. It’s long term. They’re building like crazy. Seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world today are African,” he told delegates.

“They’ve got economies like yours. You’ve got the mother lode of commodities too. This is a constant into which Australia will drop without a splash.”

Geldof said Africa needs Australia’s skills and investment, pointing to a “serious problem if instability and inequality” due to uneven distribution of wealth.

“I bang the drum for my investment fund, but you don’t have to look at me. Go to some of the others. Check it out. There’s a new world that’s developing in front of our eyes. Certainly Australia is part of the new paradigm.”

Meanwhile, Geldof was critical of the state of Australian policy in superannuation, saying the industry needs to address the high level of disengagement from their members.

“If they’re disengaged from their super, they’re disengaged from policy… so part of your job must be to get out and to tell your people, ‘we need to change this’.

You’re a very powerful lobby group, but you need the support, surely, of the people who are paying your wages.”

Geldof said the period of flux and volatility is “very exciting to live in if you’re rich, if you can take a hit”.

“But for the average Joe, you’d better take care of them.

“And if government won’t allow you to take care of them, then they must engage. The average Joe must understand what he’s doing with his compulsory contribution, because 80 per cent of Australians are disengaged from their super.”

Geldof said legislative regulations in superannuation must be “consistent and predictive” in order to plan for people’s futures.

“But they’re not, because they’re subject to the short term. If you get a glitch in the economy and the government raids the pension pot, then it isn’t going to be different to Cyprus.”

Despite his critical overview, Geldof believes Australian superannuation laws are among the best in the world, and that compulsion in super is vital.

“You and I are not going to save individually when we are young for our own old age.

“Australia has led the world but your [compulsory] 9 per cent of salary remained flat for seven years… and you’re stalling. The compulsory initiative has stayed stagnant. But at the same time, as ever, with a good initiative from government, regulation and law remain inconsistent.”

Day 2 newsletter from CMSF 2013
Day 1 newsletter from CMSF 2013

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