Just some news to keep you all on your toes.
Insurance Premiums on the Rise
A client, who maintains an additional industry superannuation account, recently received a rude shock upon noticing a significant increase in insurance premiums being deducted from their industry account.
Checking with their fund, they were advised they’d previously been advised of the increase – something they disputed. Unfortunately, the increased charges had been milking their fund and despite ongoing complaints, they were unable to have the unwanted premium increases reversed.
Some insurance premiums within super have been increasing significantly this year, but generally you’d expect to be notified by your superfund before stumbling across the increases yourself.
The cause is attributed to a variety of issues – lawyers, more mental health claims and more claims in general because people are beginning to become aware of the fact they have insurance coverage in super.
This shows the benefit of level premiums that generally aren’t available through generic industry super offerings. It also shows the benefit of insurance advice tailored to individual circumstances that inevitably will offer the appropriate coverage if it is ever needed.
ATO Fake Phone Calls
Not a new scam, but something that has rattled the cages of those confronted by it. The phone rings and on the other end is an authoritative sounding voice claiming you owe back taxes and the ATO has a posse out to arrest you.
This can all be fixed of course – if you send money. Please don’t send anything and just hang up.
While most people would quickly wise up, the elderly are susceptible to this scam, as they are with most phone scams. They tend to still have a landline, be home during the day and may not have anyone available they can quickly check in with for a second opinion.
If you have parents or grandparents unaware of this one, insist they hang up on anyone who asks for their bank details, asks them to send money or claims to be from the tax office.
In related news, $45 million was reported lost to scammers in the first half of 2015 according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
A few months ago we highlighted another mortgage fund in strife and how it had in turn frozen redemptions, with repayments to be made in four installments between October 30, 2015 and December 30, 2016. Sadly for investors, Angas Securities were unable to make their first payment in full.
We’ll see the usual glum faces in the media if Angas goes the way of a dozen other mortgage funds, but there’s a familiarity about these stories. Often the people who hand over their dough to companies like Angas are the same ones who squeal about the share market being risky, while believing it’s an outrage they’re not compensated enough by bank term deposits.
The companies themselves offer investors the perfect storm of myth, fear and greed. Statements like “backed by property” when the real estate market is hot, share market volatility portrayed as something dangerous and finally interest payments that offer numbers significantly higher than you’d find at any bank.
In the case of Angas, they’d also hired Western Australian journalist and talk back announcer Paul Murray to promote the company i.e. giving the impression of media scrutiny by placing soft interviews with directors on the Angas website.
Next repayment deadline is February 2016.
This represents general information only. Before making any financial or investment decisions, we recommend you consult a financial planner to take into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.