tip off

Tips and rumours

Bib Brother watches over News? … whispers of more job cuts in the Murdoch empire … new laws obstruct DIY super (and who wants life insurance anyway?) …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Is Big Brother watching News? … Is it true that cameras have been installed in some News Limited offices, ostensibly to collect footage for a) the company’s Christmas party or b) for display at News’ HQ in Sydney (staff reckon they’ve been given both reasons)? Tips is intrigued. If you know more, get in touch. And Crikey does love a good Christmas party invite or anecdote (not to mention a good hamper), so if the season has brought something tip-worthy your way, please let us know.

… News #2. We’re also hearing whispers out of News HR that more staff might be laid off over the coming two years, and that the hundreds of layoffs this year are “only the start”. Watch this space. No gleefulness here, though — enough people in the media have lost their jobs already.

… News #3. Well, it’s News Ltd Tuesday here at Tips. Yet another insider reckons the company has a new payment system that is struggling to cope with the backlog of payments; some freelancers are whingeing that they’re waiting longer than usual to be paid.

Super rage. We’ve had an interesting response to our tip yesterday by a certain enterprising person who took the trouble to get their head around their super funds and the tricks used to extract fees etc. Three cheers for our mole! Turns out there’s a fair bit of super rage out there from people who have questions around some industry practices. Here’s an example from a DIY super tipster:

When I left a multinational employer 20 years ago I transferred my super to one of the Australian funds which will remain nameless. For three successive years these guys looked after my funds, sent me flash brochures each year, charged a management fee and for three years depleted the capital value I had transferred to them. When I eventually met with them to discuss the loss in value but the ongoing fees I was informed that I needed to advise them on how I wanted them to manage my portfolio — in other words it was my fault they were being less than successful in looking after my money. At that point I started my own super fund and transferred the remaining capital to that fund. That has worked well over the years. Initially this was a relatively simple task to manage. In recent times, however, various new pieces of legislation have been introduced to make the business self-managed super funds more and more difficult. I would suggest that the underlying motive for this is to ‘encourage’ people to move from self-managed funds back into the folds of the institutional funds — essentially back to a place where you are exposed to all the rackets and the rogue players — and where no one is apparently accountable for the effective management of the customers’ capital.”

And this comes from a reader who’s with the SA government super fund:

Admin fees are reasonable and the shonks are few. However they do charge an extra $1000 or so a year for ‘financial advice’ but can’t explain who or what that is. And also for compulsory life insurance which is impossible to get out of. The fee for this can be up to $500 a year for a paltry $5000 cover. The life insurance is based on the assumption that all employees are male with financial dependents. Explaining that you are female with no dependents and no need for life insurance only brings the response that it is compulsory.”

Any super insiders out there who’d like to fill us in some more on the tricks of the trade? Drop us a line.

Smith meets Margie. We know that commentator crusader Michael Smith, who is pursuing the Gillard/Slater & Gordon issue even after losing his job at 2UE over his coverage of the issue, has met regularly with Labor’s Robert McClelland. He told us so in this audioboo, as Tips reported yesterday. Well an eagle-eared tipster went through some of Smith’s other audio files, and found this one, in which Smith tells us how much he admires the Abbotts.

Turns out his wife had quite the chat with Margie Abbott at Derby Day, and Smith was delighted to also come across Tony, two of their daughters, his chief of staff Peta Credlin, and her husband Brian Loughnane, all at the races. His enthusiasm was so keen he said “stop crapping on doll” to himself, in imitation of what his wife (also involved in the audioboo, and apparently a beautiful Czechoslovakian) was thinking (and this listener heartily agrees). Nice to know Smith is fond of some pollies, at least.

*Do you know more? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

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  • 1
    dazza
    Posted Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    The fees involved in running a self-funded super are huge. First the Financial planner takes his yearly share of $$ thousands, and of course the accountants want a double whammy by way tax assessment and mandatory audit. That involves $$thousands yet again. And of course the fund managers want their cut as well. That’s the reason why SFSF are/have become extremely complex and costly for the general public, middle men need to be fed, and the government always seem to be willing to bend over backwards to help the finance industries as witnessed by the GFC.

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