Super funds shut up on ASIC insider trading investigation

Funds contacted include those who provided proof to Parliament’s Economic Committee last year that executives changed their investment options after the pandemic.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who chaired the committee, raised transfers with ASIC.

Three super funds – AustralianSuper, Cbus and Hesta – declined to comment when approached by the Financial analysis.

AustralianSuper told Parliament last November that six directors and one executive made changes in the period following the start of the pandemic. Cbus said at the time that “some directors, executives and staff” had changed positions but provided no further details, while Hesta declined to provide information on the investment decisions of directors or officers. executives in Parliament.

Since unlisted assets are only revalued periodically, a super fund executive could trade inside information by shifting their savings from an investment option with an allocation to unlisted assets before the fund revalues ​​those investments to. the decline.

Hostplus, which told Parliament last year that one of its executives transferred $ 115,000 to a balanced fund, told the Financial analysis he was “not aware” if the fund was one of the 23 included in ASIC’s oversight.

However, the $ 68 billion industrial fund said no staff are currently under investigation for switching investments due to access to price sensitive information.

“Respect confidentiality”

A spokeswoman for Rest said the fund “respects the confidentiality of all correspondence and transactions with regulators,” and did not disclose whether the fund was involved in the ASIC investigation. Rest told Parliament last year that directors and officers transferred around $ 2.5 million in personal retirement savings during the period in question.

“The information provided by Rest to the House of Representatives Economic Committee covers all transactions made by staff from January 1 to July 31, 2020 and there has been no change from our leaders or staff who have had access to price sensitive information, “said a spokesperson for the fund. .

The Financial analysis understands that Colonial First State provided information to ASIC in connection with the investigation, but the fund has not received any notifications regarding staff or executives.

A spokeswoman for Aware Super said the $ 150 billion fund was “confident that no Aware Super director, officer or identified person has misused non-public information,” but said any Question regarding the investigation should be directed to ASIC.

“Aware Super takes issues of insider trading and material non-public information very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

“We have strong controls in place to manage and mitigate these risks. These include strict pre-trade approval processes for directors and officers wishing to buy or sell investments and switch between Aware Super investment options. We also institute blackout periods and have an ongoing process of monitoring and attestation. “

A spokesperson for NGS Super told the Financial analysis the fund’s personal trading policy prohibits insider trading, but did not specify whether the fund had been involved in ASIC oversight. The $ 11 billion fund told Parliament last year that three trustees changed their investments last year.

“NGS Super is convinced that the requirements for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the personal negotiation policy have always been and will continue to be met,” said the spokesperson.

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