Active Super ‘running rings around’ other super funds for disclosure

February 2022

Active Super is leading Australian super funds in its transparency around voting intentions at AGMs, according to an article in The Australian, entitled ‘Time to bring super’s secret ballots into the open’.

The article, which appeared in December last year, states that Active Super is ‘running rings around its much larger industry fund cousins when it comes to disclosing exactly how they intend to use their voting clout in the weeks leading up to an annual meeting.’

For years, Active Super has made its voting intentions available for all members by publishing them on its website weeks, sometimes months, in advance of upcoming annual meetings. 

The article names other Australian funds who appear to champion transparency but in reality have disclosure practices that are too slow to be useful to members wanting to know how their super fund is voting.

According to the article, AustralianSuper only discloses information on the way it votes on a quarterly basis. UniSuper makes its voting disclosures known after an annual meeting, while the building industry-focused CBUS releases its voting scorecard after the event. 

HostPlus reportedly releases its voting record in six-month blocks, while the $179bn Canberra-backed Future Fund only provides disclosure on a financial year basis.

Active Super is also leading the charge when it comes to voting and engagement by funds on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. Research released in September last year by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) and reported in The Australian Financial Review, showed the funds most supportive of proposals over the past four years were Active Super (supporting 76 percent of proposals), HESTA (65 percent), Cbus (63 percent), Macquarie (62 percent), NGS Super (58 percent), Mercer (54 percent) and Qantas Super (50 percent). 

ACCR director of climate and environment Dan Gocher was also quoted, saying: “…the best performing funds (according to APRA) tend to have better disclosure and are more supportive of ESG proposals.”  

Active Super’s Head of Responsible Investment, Moya Yip, says the fund takes transparency around voting seriously.

“It’s important that our members know how we are going to vote and why we are doing that on behalf of their best interests,” she says.

Moya adds that the fund is currently preparing a new portfolio holdings disclosure system, expected to come online in the first half of this year. “This will further improve our transparency, allowing members to see the companies we invest in and satisfy themselves that our choices are aligned with their values.”