What does the Tribunal cover?

Generally, the Tribunal can deal with complaints about the decisions and conduct of:

  • Trustees of a regulated superannuation fund (other than a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF)) and approved deposit funds (ADF).
    - Including the decisions and conduct of people acting on behalf of the trustee and the decisions or conduct of insurers in relation to insurance benefits provided under superannuation funds.
  • Life companies as providers of immediate and deferred annuities (annuity policies).
    - Including the decisions and conduct of people acting on behalf of the life company.
  • Providers of retirement savings accounts (RSA provider).
    - Including the decisions and conduct of people acting on behalf of the RSA provider and the decisions of insurers in relation to insurance benefits where the premiums are paid from the RSA.

The Tribunal cannot deal with complaints about:

  • An employer, for example about the failure to pay contributions (unless the employer is also a superannuation fund trustee). The Australian Taxation Office's Superannuation Guarantee area may be able to assist you - phone 13 10 20 or visit their web-site. www.ato.gov.au
  • A life insurance product that is not an annuity or superannuation product such as life insurance. The Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help you - phone 1300 780 808 or visit their website. www.fos.org.au
  • A complaint about annuities issued by bodies which are not life companies, such as friendly societies. (Many banks issue annuity policy through their life company subsidiaries, and the Tribunal can therefore deal with complaints about these policies). The Australian Securities and Investments Commission may be able to assist you. www.asic.gov.au
  • A financial adviser who cannot be shown to be acting as agents of a superannuation provider - for these complaints the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help you - phone 1300 780 808 or visit their website. www.fos.org.au
  • The trustee of any superannuation fund, life company or RSA provider about matters that are the subject of court proceedings.

For more information on other bodies that may be able to help you with a complaint that can't be dealt with by the Tribunal, see Other Bodies.

The Tribunal cannot deal with certain types of superannuation, life company or RSA complaints:

  • A complaint that has not first been made to the Fund through their internal complaints arrangement. Only after you have received a response that you found unsatisfactory or have had no response after 90 days from the lodging of that complaint with the Fund can you complain to Tribunal
  • Complaints that relate to the management of a fund as a whole, such as investment performance or the general level of fees and charges
  • Complaints about death benefits or disability benefits that are lodged outside a prescribed time limit - see Time Limits.
  • Complaints about misrepresentation in relation to personal superannuation policies where the member was admitted to the fund before 12 December 1995 - for these complaints the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help you - phone 1300 780 808 or visit their website. www.fos.org.au
  • A complaint about an annuity policy acquired before 12 December 1995, unless the policy was varied after that date and the complaint is about the variation of that annuity policy. The Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help you - phone 1300 780 808 or visit their website. www.fos.org.au
  • Complaints about decisions of some State or Commonwealth Government superannuation funds (contact the Tribunal for more information).
  • Complaints about actions or decisions before the fund became regulated (generally 1 July 1994, but it can vary)
  • Complaints in relation to superannuation funds that are not regulated (contact the fund directly to find out if it is regulated).
  • Complaints in relation to a self-managed superannuation fund. Contact the Australian Tax Office for information, www.ato.gov.au.

Examples of complaints

  • A belief that a death benefit was paid or may be paid to the wrong person or people
  • An unreasonable delay in a payment
  • A miscalculation of a benefit, payment, or commutation
  • A refusal to approve a claim for a disability benefit
  • Misrepresentation about the terms and conditions of a life or annuity policy
  • Errors in annual statements
  • Error in information provided by a superannuation provider to the ATO for the purposes of the superannuation surcharge, member contributions statements or increased contributions tax on high income earners
  • A refusal by an insurer to approve a claim for a disability benefit where the insurance premium is paid from the RSA.
  • A superannuation provider's conduct in administering the splitting of a superannuation payment between spouses in accordance with a binding agreement or Family Court Order under the family law legislation.

A complaint can be made to the Tribunal that a decision or conduct was unfair or unreasonable in its practical outcome or consequence.  Also, the Tribunal's powers are limited to providing a remedy in relation to the demonstrated adverse impact of a decision or conduct.  Before making a complaint you should consider what remedies the Tribunal can and cannot provide. Find out more