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SuperStream

The SuperStream standard is part of the government’s Super Reform package. Its purpose is to provide a consistent, reliable electronic method of transacting linked data and payments for superannuation. The goal is to improve the efficiency of the superannuation system, to improve the timeliness of processing of rollovers and contributions and reduce the number of lost accounts and unclaimed monies.

Our SuperStream Groups provide advice and recommendations to the SuperStream Standards.

Current SuperStream topics are:

SuperStream Alternative File Format (SAFF): As a result of a co-design process across key industry stakeholders in early 2014, it was agreed that a SuperStream alternative file format would be described using a comma separated value (CSV) format. This file would be presented for use on an optional basis. It was expected that the file would have utility to support both the alternative approaches as documented in the legislative instrument, as well as supporting the exchange of files between an employer and their service provider leading to a conformant exchange of data once transformed.

The standard includes a specification for how registration and contribution messages are to be sent. This specification outlines both the format for the data (XBRL), as well as the message exchange protocol to be used (ebMS3/AS4).

The standard also recognises that as part of the transition employers and funds may choose to adopt an alternative arrangement, subject to conditions detailed in the legislative instrument. Under this arrangement an alternative file format may be used to pass data from the employer to the fund. Interactions between employers and their service providers (such as clearing houses) also involve alternative file formats, often generated by payroll software products, prior to the point at which XBRL files are created.

The outcome is that a wide variety of alternative file formats are used across the industry, and will continue to be used for some time, requiring funds and employers (and the various service providers of both) to incur the cost of maintaining the many file formats.

In light of this, the question was raised as to whether it was possible to agree a common alternative file format, complementing the standard, so as to reduce costs to all affected parties.

MIG 2: Since October 2014 the ATO have been co-designing with industry around the third phase of this work, to include government Rollovers and Contributions with the data and payment standard.  The technical documents supporting this change were released for public consultation in March 2015.

On 30 April the SuperStream Reference Group endorsed the scheduling of major change windows for the SuperStream standard over the next two year period.  These are which are designed to provide:

  • an 18 month lead time before the first version change with final specifications available at least 12 months out from the change
  • continued focus over the next 12 months on stabilisation of the current contributions implementation
  • adequate time over the next four months for further consultation on and resolution of key design issues.

The change windows are to be scheduled as follows:

October 2016 – Rollover v2.0 (covering both B2B and B2G contexts)

Principally adding government rollovers, new functionality to enable automated processing of refunds and introduction of the transaction reference number.

April  2017 – Contributions v2.0 (covering both B2B and B2G contexts)

Principally adding government contributions, introducing new functionality to contribution interactions to enable automated processing of amendments and incorporating relevant guidance notes.

The ATO has commenced consultation with ABSIA on these issues, with a view to determining the benefits and costs associated with each topic. 

Fund Validation Service (FVS): The FVS is an enabling service to support SuperStream. It allows employers and their nominated service providers to look up APRA-regulated fund product details for SuperStream contributions, for faster and more reliable processing.

For those members wishing to participate in this SIG please email info@absia.asn.au.