The much mooted idea of a government funded policy advice research institute for superannuation has been pre-empted by a partnership between the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and Mercer.

Dubbed the AIST-Mercer Super Tracker, the body will publish yearly updates on the relative fairness of tax concessions on superannuation for high and low income earners and on whether the gap between male and female superannuation balances is growing or falling.

The first report will be unveiled at the AIST’s CMSF conference in the Gold Coast on March 18-20.

It is hoped the Super Tracker will engender evidence based decision-making and show how policy changes impact the overall costs of the superannuation system to government.

In particular, it will try to quantify how any cut to tax concessions would lead to a greater reliance on the age pension.

Dr David Knox, senior partner and senior actuary at Mercer, said: “We know that women have considerably less super than men and so we will analyse whether women are catching up or falling further behind.

“We will also be looking at the equity of the tax concessions for different income levels and whether the system is becoming more or less equitable.”

A Council of Superannuation Custodians was proposed by the current Labor leader Bill Shorten in 2013, when he served as minister for superannuation. The Financial System Inquiry (FSI) has also explored the establishment of a public body to assess the superannuation system’s performance and to report on superannuation policy changes.

However, the FSI concluded that such a body would face conflicts between stakeholder interests and policy objectives, that it would add to government costs and that it had not “seen strong evidence that an independent body would significantly improve outcomes.”

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