THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has urged the Federal Government and regulators to consider the reactivation of temporary insolvency protections, to support small and family businesses doing it tough in lockdown.
Mr Billson said the re-introduction of measures, such as the extension to existing safe harbour provisions, would provide temporary additional protections for small and family businesses that may be trading insolvent due to lockdown trading restrictions.
“Small businesses aren’t like a light that can be switched on and off,” Mr Billson said.
“With full respect for the need for public health orders, lockdowns do have a significant and immediate impact on small and family businesses and a cumulative effect when those businesses have endured multiple lockdowns.
“Many have far less cash in reserve, having eaten into savings to get through previous lockdowns.
“CreditorWatch has released data revealing a 75 percent increase in businesses entering administration in the last week of June, and that trend is widely expected to continue with payment times stretching out.
“Bringing back temporary protections that were in place last year, would be a sensible and appropriate policy measure, particularly for those small and family businesses impacted by recurring and protracted lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney," he said.
“Insolvency protections introduced temporarily last year worked to reduce the threat of creditors taking action against a small business impacted by trading restrictions and offered temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.
“Crucially its measures like this that give otherwise viable small businesses more time to recover or turnaround, preventing a wave of unnecessary insolvencies. By giving a small company breathing space to restructure, you also help mitigate the risk of small business creditors getting swept up in the domino effect of insolvencies.”
In the meantime, My Billson is encouraging small businesses experiencing financial hardship to sit down with their trusted, accredited financial adviser for a viability assessment.
“We know the sooner a small business owner experiencing financial stress reaches out to an accredited professional such as their bookkeeper or accountant, the better the outcome,” Mr Billson said.
“Without the right professional advice, cash flow issues, compounded by falling revenue can prove devastating for the business owner, staff and their families.
“Now is the time to get expert, tailored advice on the state of your business so you can make an informed decision about the future.”
HESTA scored the highest customer satisfaction rating among industry and retail funds, according to independent research agency Roy Morgan’s latest Superannuation Satisfaction Report.
Measuring customer satisfaction ratings for the six months from January to June 2021, the report found HESTA (Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia) was the leading major superannuation fund as satisfaction reached record levels during the reporting period.
“Our focus on putting members first in everything we do sees us continually look to improve the experience our members have with us and drives innovation in how we support members to have a better financial future,” HESTA chief experience officer Lisa Samuels said.
Ms Samuels said the focus on delivering outstanding investment performance, while also having a positive impact, has helped contribute to strong member satisfaction levels.
“Our members consistently tell us that they want us to be a gutsy advocate on the issues that impact them and their financial futures,” Ms Samuels said.
“We know issues like gender discrimination and climate change are risks that can affect the long-term performance of companies our members are invested in. That’s why our focus on global leadership in responsible investment sees us continue to find new ways to deliver strong, sustainable investment performance for members.”
HESTA’s Sustainable Growth option was last week named the country’s top performing balanced option for the year, leading across one, three, five, seven, 10 and 15-year timeframes*, according to third party ratings agency, SuperRatings’ latest Fund Crediting Rate Survey.
The Sustainable Growth investment option achieved a stellar 23.03 percent return for the FY20/21 financial year and delivered 11.28 percent a year over a rolling 10-year period to 30 June 2021#. It was also the leading option across 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20-year time periods, compared with other dedicated sustainable investment options^.
The MySuper authorised option, Balanced Growth, also achieving a record 19.03 percent return for the financial year and 8.87 percent a year over 10 years #. According to SuperRatings, Balanced Growth achieved top quartile performance versus other balanced options over three, five, seven, 10 and 20-year time periods*.
“Our members know they can have a positive impact through their super while also benefitting from leading investment performance to help them achieve a more secure financial future and a better world to retire into,” Ms Samuels said.
HESTA is the largest superannuation fund dedicated to Australia’s health and community services sector. An industry fund, HESTA has over 880,000 members and manages more than $62 billion in assets. As a responsible steward of their members’ retirement savings, HESTA focuses on achieving strong, sustainable, long-term returns while making a positive difference to the world members will retire into.
^ SuperRatings Sustainable Fund Crediting Survey June 2021
* SuperRatings Fund Crediting Survey June 2021, Balanced (60-76)
#Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investment returns for HESTA Retirement Income Stream are different to those presented in this Media Release refer to www.hesta.com.au for further details of investment performance for all investment options.