Australia’s financial regulator has confirmed it is examining AustralianSuper, after the industry super fund was caught sharing members’ information with The New Daily.
Last month, the AFR revealed AustralianSuper – which owns The New Daily – had supplied the names and email addresses of its 2 million members with the publication as part of a subscription to the site.
“To activate your subscription, AustralianSuper will supply your name and email address to The New Daily,” a note to members said.
Members were given until the start of July to opt out of the news subscription, after that, they can unsubscribe at any time.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has since confirmed it is making “preliminary inquiries” over the matter, according to the AFR.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is currently conducting an inquiry into superannuation marketing, advertising and sponsorship.
The APRA has since confirmed the data breach will not be included in the review, as it had occurred so recently.
The inquiry is still looking at The New Daily and AustralianSuper, particularly whether or not funding for the publication is considered an expense or an investment.
“We’d be looking at what the decision-making process was around any investment made,” said APRA executive director – superannuation Suzanne Smith during a Senate estimates on Wednesday.
“Funds are required to have an investment strategy and whether that investment was appropriate is the focus of what we’ll look at.”
Liberal backbencher Andrew Bragg criticsed the content on the site.
“If you look at the content on this platform, it’s political propaganda which sits there and smears people, it is not an independent media outlet… so it can’t possibly be a normal investment,” he said.
APRA general manager Adrian Rees added that the review would be focusing on governance, rather than the appropriateness of political advertising.
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