This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Death Benefits for Widows and the NAB'.


Level 5, 100 Market Street, 
Sydney NSW 2000 
GPO Box 9827, Sydney NSW 2001 
DX 653 Sydney 
Telephone: +61 2 9911 2000 
Facsimile: +61 2 9911 2414 
Our Ref: 
5 August 2016 
Mr Phillip Sweeney 
Dear Mr Sweeney 
Request under the Freedom of Information Act
 1982 for access to documents 
I refer to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) received 
by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) by email on 17 July 
2016 in which you made the following request: 
ASIC has been given a directive by the Minister responsible for ASIC to investigate 
the non-payment or delayed payment of life insurance products in repose (sic) to 
the CommInsure scandal reported by Fairfax Media. 
This is what the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said to Michael 
Brissenden of the ABC on 8 March 2016: 
“We’re getting ASIC to do an investigation as to whether those practices that have 
been raised in relation to CommInsure are more widespread; whether there is a 
broader systemic issue with the industry”. 
Life insurance products can be obtained either via a life insurance company or via 
a superannuation fund. 
ASIC has been provided with a document that might be described as a “group 
death benefit policy” document dated 20 November 1974 that added Regulation 
30A to the provisions of an occupational pension scheme established by a Trust 
Deed executed on the 23 December 1913 in the State of South Australia. 
Regulation 30A provides a death benefit to widows in the form of a survivorship 
pension following the death of their late husband. 
It is important to note that a copy of this document that forms part of the governing 
rules of the 1913 Fund was not lodged with APRA as required by Section 29L of 



the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. The earliest Deed lodged 
with APRA was dated 26 August 1986. 
In 1974 the name of this fund was The Provident Fund, however in 1982 the name 
of the fund was changed to the Elders IXL Superannuation Fund. This fund was 
more recently known as the AusBev Superannuation Fund. 
Since 20 January 2014 the Trust Estate of this occupational pension scheme has 
been under the control of subsidiary companies of the National Australia Bank. 
The death benefits to widows are not being paid by the National Australia Bank. 
The defined benefit pension scheme was closed to new members on the 30 
November 1997, so there will be widows alive until 2060 to 2070 who have a 
prima facie right to receive a survivorship pension pursuant to the provisions of 
Regulation 30A. 
As part of its investigation order by the responsible Minister, ASIC should have 
sought to obtain a copy of any Deed of Variation that purports to repeal, revoke or 
delete Regulation 30A. 
ASIC should be able to obtain a copy of such a document from either APRA or 
from PFS Nominees Pty Ltd or Nulis Nominees (Australia) Ltd which are 
subsidiary companies of the National Australia Bank. 
The document I seek is a copy of any Deed of Variation or other instrument that 
purports to repeal, revoke or delete Regulation 30A.  

I am the authorised decision-maker for the purposes of section 23 of the FOI Act. 
Section 24A of the FOI Act 
Section 24A(1) of the FOI Act states:  
An agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if:  
(a)  all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document; and  
(b) the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document:  
is in the agency's or Minister's possession but cannot be found; or  
does not exist.  
ASIC’s industry wide review of life insurance claims handling  
You have referred in  your request  to  ASIC’s  industry wide  review  of life insurance 
claims  handling  (the  life  insurance  review).  The  life  insurance  review  is  aimed  at 


determining  whether  there  are  concerning  claims  handling  practices  across  the  life 
insurance industry. As part of this review, ASIC confirmed that it would: 
(a)  review  life  insurance  complaints  data  lodged  with  FOS  and  the  SCT  from 
2013 to date, to determine the types of complaints received, the main issues in 
the industry, and the products and insurers they relate to;  
(b) review our complaints and breach reporting data from 2013 to date;  
(c)  review  data  from  consumer  groups  about  life  insurance  complaints  and 
casework from 2013 to date;  
(d) carry  out  targeted  reviews  of  product  disclosure  statements  for  products 
offered by selected life insurers; and  
(e)  engage  with  a  range  of  stakeholders,  including  industry  consultants, 
benchmarking  services,  financial  advisers  and  practitioners,  to  receive 
qualitative assessments on the life insurance sector.  
You have sought access to any Deed of Variation or other instrument that purports to 
repeal,  revoke  or  delete  Regulation  30A  (the  documents)  in  the  context  of  the  life 
insurance  review.    I  have  therefore  limited  my  searches  for  the  documents  to  this 
particular subject matter.   
I  have  made  enquiries  of  the  relevant  ASIC  officers  involved  in  the  life  insurance 
review.  These  enquiries  have  revealed  that  ASIC  is  not  in  possession  of  any 
documents falling within the scope of your request.  
I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate documents relevant to 
your  request  and  I  am  satisfied  that  the  documents  are  not  in  ASIC's  possession.  I 
have therefore decided to refuse  your request in  accordance with s24A1(b)(ii) of the 
FOI Act. 
Documents in an agency's possession 
You  have  stated  in  your  request  ASIC  should  be  able  to  obtain  a  copy  of  such  a 
document  from  either  APRA  or  from  PFS  Nominees  Pty  Ltd  or  Nulis  Nominees 
(Australia) Ltd which are subsidiary companies of the National Australia Bank. 
The  FOI  Act  creates  a  right  of  access  to  a  document  in  the  possession  of 
Commonwealth government agencies.  It does not require an agency to take steps to 
bring a document into its possession in order to satisfy a request. 
Review Rights 
In the event that you are dissatisfied with the decision: 
1.  You  may,  within  30  days  after  the  day  on  which  you  have  been  notified  of  this 
decision,  apply  in  writing  to  ASIC  for  a  review  of  my  decision  by  another  ASIC 
officer under section 54B of the FOI Act.  This request should be addressed to me 
or  to  the  Senior  Manager,  Administrative  Law  GPO  Box  9827  SYDNEY  or  by 
email to 


2.  You  may  within  60  days  after  the  day  on  which  you  have  been  notified  of  this 
decision, apply in writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 
(OAIC)  for  a  review  of  my  decision  under  section  54N  of  the  FOI  Act.  You  may 
contact  the  OAIC  by  post  at  GPO  Box  5218  Sydney  NSW  2001,  by  email  at or by telephone on 1300 363 992. 
Right to complain 
3.  You may lodge a complaint with the OAIC in relation to the conduct of ASIC in 
the handling of this request. You may contact the OAIC as described above.   
Yours faithfully 
Evelyn Ong 
(Authorised decision-maker under subsection 23(1) of the FOI Act) 
for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission