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Compliance & Regulation

WAM fights franking credit refund ban

Fund manager Wilson Asset Management has started a petition enlisting the support of its clients and any other interested investors to rally against the Labor Party’s proposal to make certain Australians ineligible for imputation credit refunds.

Speaking at the 2018 Australian Investors Association National Conference held on the Gold Coast recently, Wilson Asset Management lead portfolio manager Catriona Burns said the petition was started due to investor angst, especially from those in the SMSF sector.

“We think the proposed changes by the Labor Party towards franking [credits] are very unfair to investors and retirees and so we’ve created a petition to lobby the government to not have those implemented and we’ve got over 10,000 people that have signed up,” she said.

Given who the majority of Wilson Asset Management’s clients are, Burns said the cause was particularly important.

“We’re advocating for our shareholders who [are concerned about this announcement] and 60 per cent of investors are self-managed super funds who really will be affected by [opposition leader Bill] Shorten’s proposed changes, so we’re really strongly advocating for them,” she noted.

“We will be lobbying government to make sure these changes don’t go ahead because the feedback we’ve got has overwhelmingly been that people are very nervous and unhappy about them.”

The petition can be found at wilsonassetmanagement.com.au/petition/ with supporters required to register their name and their email address to be included in the lobbying movement.

Earlier this year, opposition treasury spokesperson Chris Bowen announced Labor’s plan to make imputation credit refunds no longer available to SMSF trustees whose fund is in 100 per cent pension phase, that is, the fund does not generate any assessable income, and who do not receive either a full or part age pension from the government.

SMSF Association statistics estimate the move would cut about $5000 of income from the median SMSF retiree earning about $50,000 a year in pension income.

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