The Fire and Emergency Services Superannuation Fund (FES Super) is the superannuation fund for employees of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services of Western Australia and some associated employers.
FES Super Latest News
Investment Market Volatility
You will no doubt know that investment markets have been extremely volatile over the past few weeks, caused by the spread of COVID-19 and compounded by the recent oil price falls. Equity markets do not like uncertainty and have fallen substantially from their recent highs.
COVID-19 was first experienced in the Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei in late December 2019. Since that time the virus has spread to multiple countries. On 12 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the virus as a global pandemic.
While COVID-19 is a humanitarian challenge, its direct and consequential effect on wider economic, business, employment and social dimensions collectively contributes to the pandemic affecting global investment markets.
At times like these it is important to focus on the long term. Diversification and long-term strategic asset allocation underpin the investment process at the Fund and although the current volatility will impact short term performance, history shows that markets recover over time.
We continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates as necessary.
Further information is available on our website at www.fessuper.com.au
We appreciate everyone is being inundated with constant messaging but we consider it our prerogative to keep you abreast of matters as they unfold.
Quite clearly the evidence is indicating an acceleration of people becoming infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19). While we are confident in our own health and ability to withstand infection and illness, we fear for those members and family members of staff that may be more susceptible to a more severe reaction.
Given some of the evidence on the recent spread and health consequences of COVID-19, as well as clear government guidelines, we are enacting the following measures:
1. Implementing an office-based staff roster arrangement whereby we have 50% of staff operating at 242 Rokeby Road, and the remaining 50% working remotely.
2. Stopping ‘face to face’ member and other third-party meetings.
While it is always more effective for face to face discussion, we encourage members to use email to contact the office.
Given all the communications that you will no doubt be receiving we will endeavour to keep our updates to you as concise as possible. Clearly these are unprecedented times. What we know is that human nature is hardwired to progress and innovate. The essential ingredients that will enable solutions to be developed and an eventual outcome of current conditions normalising.
The Australian Parliament has passed new legislation, the ‘Protecting Your Super’ package, which took effect on 1 July 2019.
The package includes several changes designed to reduce erosion of superannuation account balances. One of the changes may affect some FES Super members.
From 1 July 2019, non-defined benefit superannuation accounts with a balance under $6,000 must generally be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) unless the member’s account has in the previous 16 months:
Received a contribution, rollover or automatic transfer from another fund,
Made an investment choice,
Changed their insurance cover,
Made a binding beneficiary nomination, or
Provided written notice to the ATO or to FESSuper that they do not want their FESSuper account to be transferred.
The first transfer to the ATO will be made on or before 31 October 2019.
If your account is identified as a low balance inactive account, we’ll contact you with information about how you can choose to stay with FESSuper.
Note the above change does not affect members with a defined benefit account.
Your annual benefit statement for the period to 30 June 2019 has now been posted to your secure online account at www.fessuper.com.au and is available for you to download if required.
A copy of your annual benefit statement has also been mailed to your postal address and will be with you shortly.
The 2019 Report to Members is also available for you to read or download from the website under 'Publications/Forms/Resources'.
Certified Copy of proof of your identity for rollovers or payments
Members are reminded that we are required by law to confirm your identity before you can withdraw all or part of your benefit from the Fund or where you wish to transfer money into the Fund.
Enhanced security measures adopted by the Superannuation Board with effect from 1 January 2018 require you to provide to the Fund a certified copy of your proof of identity on each and every occasion that you seek a payment from the Fund, where you seek to transfer money into the Fund or on such other occasion as the Superannuation Board requires you to prove you are the person to whom the superannuation entitlement belongs. The proof of identity document provided should have photographic evidence of your identity and be dated within 7 days of your request for a payment or a transaction.
There were only three modest contribution changes to superannuation announced in the Federal Budget on 3 April 2019 that will assist members. These changes are proposed to commence on 1 July 2020 and assume that the current Government is re-elected at the Federal Election scheduled to take place on 18 May 2019.
The changes are:
Members aged 65 and 66 will be able to make voluntary contributions and non-concessional super contributions without meeting the work test. This test requires a member to work at least 40 hours over a 30 day period;
these members aged 65 and 66 will be able to make voluntary non-concessional contributions of up to $300,000 in a single financial year;
members will be able to make voluntary contributions for a spouse partner up to age 74, up from the the current cut-off of 69 years.
It is emphasised that these are Government proposals only and must be approved by parliament before becoming law.