The following glossary represents the more commonly used words and phrases contained in the Tribunals website. Click on each word or phrase to view a detailed explanation.

If you would like to view a wider glossary terms relating to the superannuation industry CLICK HERE to visit the ASFA website online dictionary.


An annuity is a form of pension. When a person retires they have the option of using their superannuation to purchase an annuity from a company, such as a Life Insurance Company, which is a contract with that company to be paid a specific amount of money at regular intervals for a specific period of time.

Annuity Policy

An annuity offered by a Life Insurance Company. Annuities offered by Life Insurance Companies. Other organisations such as Friendly Societies and some Credit Unions also offer annuities. See section3 of the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 (the SRC Act).

Approved Deposit Fund (ADF)

An approved Deposit Fund is a superannuation fund which does not accept contributions but does accept rollovers. See section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. View PDF >

APRA Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority

APRA is one of the two government departments charged with the primary responsibility for supervising the superannuation system. The Tribunal is unable to deal with complaints about decisions of APRA. Phone APRA on 1300 558 849.

ASFA Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia

A peak body of superannuation funds which plays a representative, research and lobby role for funds.

ASIC Australian Securities and Investments Commission

ASIC is one of two government departments (the other being APRA) charged with the primary responsibility for supervising the superannuation system. In particular ASIC is responsible for issues relating to information provided to members. Phone ASIC on 1300 300 630.

ATO Australian Taxation Office

The ATO is involved in the taxation of superannuation funds, the regulation of Self Managed Funds, maintaining the Lost Members’ Register and enforcing the payment of employer contributions to superannuation funds in accordance with the Superannuation Guarantee legislation. Phone the ATO on 13 10 20.


The beneficiary of a superannuation fund, annuity policy or RSA is the person to whom the benefit is paid. While in most cases this is the member/Annuitant/RSA holder, the term is most often used when talking about the person to whom the benefit can be paid in circumstances where the member/Annuitant/RSA holder has died. See ‘Dependant’. See section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. View PDF >

Complaints Analyst

A staff member of the Tribunal responsible for obtaining information from the various parties to a complaint, and for conducting the Tribunal’s inquiry into the matter.


The person who is making the complaint. This person must be eligible to do so, under the governing rules of the Tribunal.


Conciliation is the process by which the Tribunal gets the parties together to try to resolve the complaint by agreement.


A contribution is an amount paid into a superannuation fund or RSA for a specific member. Contributions are normally paid by the member or on behalf of the member by his/her employee. See Regulation 1.03 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994: ‘contributions’.

Death Benefit

This is the benefit paid from a superannuation fund or RSA when a member dies. Generally the benefit can only be paid to one or more of the member’s dependants and/or the legal personal representative (LPR). If there are no dependants and no LPR the benefit may be paid to another person who is not a dependant, often a close relative such as a parent or brother of the member.

Deferred Annuity

An annuity where the payments will not start until some date in the future. An deferred annuity is usually purchased with a rollover by a person who is still working, with payments to start when the person retires.


In superannuation terms, ‘dependant ‘ is used to describe those people to whom a superannuation benefit can be paid if the member dies while their superannuation is still in a superannuation fund.

A person is a ‘dependant’ because:
their relationship to the member (husband, wife, defacto spouse, child, including adult child and adopted child), or
the person was financially dependent on the member.

If a person is dependant by relationship eg. the wife of a member, it is not necessary for them to also be financially dependent to meet the definition of dependant. See section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. View PDF >


In relation to a complaint, a determination is the formal, written decision of the Tribunal after considering a complaint at a review meeting. It describes the complaint, provides the Tribunal decision, the reasons for the decision and the orders made in connection with the decision.

Eligible Termination Payment (ETP)

Lump Sum payment from a superannuation fund or RSA. Depending on the circumstances, the benefit may be able to be paid directly to the member or may be rolled over to another fund. An ETP may also be paid by an employer in respect of certain entitlements when a member ceases employment. See Subdivision AA of Division 2 of Part III of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 View PDF >

Exempt Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (EPSSS)

Some Public Sector Superannuation Schemes (for Government employees) are exempt from complying with SIS, making them an EPSSS, while some are regulated Funds. The Tribunal is able to deal with complaints about some of these funds. Generally, it can deal with complaints about the funds operated by the Commonwealth Government and the Governments of Queensland and Western Australia. You may need to contact the Tribunal for more information if you have a complaint about one of these funds. See section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. View PDF >

Financially dependent

Person A is financially dependent on person B if A relies on B for regular financial support. A does not have to be totally financially dependent on B, but the financial dependence does have to be significant.

Legal Personal Representative (LPR)

The legal personal representative is a person appointed to act on behalf of another person or their estate. In relation to superannuation, the LPR is normally the executor, executrix or administrator of a deceased person’s estate. See section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. View PDF >

Life Companies

Companies that offer life insurance (and other insurance and superannuation products). Examples are AMP, AXA, Colonial First State.
See ‘Life Insurance Company’ section 10 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 View PDF >
Life Insurance Act 1995 View PDF >


In relation to a complaint, ‘party’ is a general term used to describe a person or company who is a party to a complaint. For example, in a complaint about a superannuation benefit, the parties to the complaint will be the complainant and the Trustee of the Fund. If there is an insured benefit involved, the insurer may also be a party to the complaint.

Permanent Incapacity

This is the test used under the legislation to determine if a member’s benefits can be released from a superannuation fund before the person has reached retirement age on the basis that they have effectively been forced to retire early because of a disability. It is similar to the typical definition of TPD and the two usually work together to enable a member’s benefit (often including an insured component) to be paid to them. See Regulation 6.01(2)of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 View PDF >

Regulated Superannuation Fund

Superannuation is generally regulated (controlled) by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SIS Act). A regulated superannuation fund is a fund which has elected (applied) to be regulated under the SIS Act. In return for agreeing to comply with the requirements of the Act, the fund receives certain tax concessions. Most superannuation funds in Australia are regulated superannuation funds. See section 19 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 View PDF >

Retirement Savings Account (RSA)

A special type of superannuation product generally provided by banks which is not required to have a trustee. See section 8 of the Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997 View PDF >


A rollover is an amount of money in a superannuation fund or RSA which is paid (‘rolled over’) to another superannuation fund. See Div. 6.4 and 6.4A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 View PDF >

Self Managed Fund (SMF) /Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF)

A Self Managed Fund is a category of small superannuation fund which has fewer than five members and where, typically, the members are all involved in the operation of the fund and no member is an employee of another member. These funds are subject to fewer restrictions than other regulated superannuation funds. The Tribunal cannot deal with complaints about SMF’s. See section 17A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 View PDF >

SIS The Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993

This is the primary legislation which determines how superannuation funds operate and what they can and cannot do. It is administered by APRA and ASIC. View the Act >

Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 (the SRC Act)

The SRC Act is the legislation under which the Tribunal is established and operates. View the Act >

Statement of Termination Payment (STP)

The statement providing details about the various parts of an ETP.


Savings for retirement which are held in a superannuation fund. In return for favourable tax treatment, access to the benefits is usually restricted until a member retires from the workforce.

Superannuation Fund

A type of trust fund created specifically to hold and invest members’ superannuation.

Superannuation Guarantee (SG)

Commonwealth Government legislation requiring employers to contribute to superannuation on behalf of most employees. The legislation is enforced by the ATO.

Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD)

‘Total and Permanent Disablement’ is the test commonly used in superannuation funds to determine if a person is entitled to be paid a TPD benefit, which may include an insured amount. While the definition varies from one fund to another, and it is necessary to rely on the specific definition, it typically requires that the member is totally and permanently disabled to such an extent that they are incapable of working in any occupation for which they have the education, training and experience.


The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (Tribunal).


The trustee of a superannuation fund is responsible for the operation and investment of the fund. The Trustee is usually a corporation, eg. Retirement Savings Pty Ltd.