Superannuation funds in Australia are relatively safe. In recent years, losses due to criminal activity upon and within superannuation funds have been minimal, but the vulnerability of these funds to risky and/or fraudulent investment practices cannot be ignored. As the Barings Bank experience has shown, the age and reputation of a company is no guarantee of the safety of one’s investments. With the likelihood of some $2 trillion in the superannuation pool within 25 years, an aging population, and a proliferation of funds, the prospect of fraudulent activity should be extinguished very early.
This paper examines the potential problems and the types of regulatory response, and argues that despite Australia’s good record in this area, the onus is upon all of us to be vigilant and check statements and reports very carefully. Law enforcement agencies also need to develop an awareness of and techniques to combat this particular form of white-collar crime.