The Public Trustee has previously accepted money from a variety of approved investors under Section 29 (1) (b) of the Public Trustee Act 1995.
The Public Trustee Act 1995 provides that the Minister may approve classes of persons that can invest money with the Public Trustee (Section 29(1) (b)).
Up until 30 June 2019 that approval included the following classes of people:
- Wills and customers of the Public Trustee
- Beneficiaries of estates and trusts administered by the Public Trustee, when funds would otherwise be distributed
- Trustees of estates and trusts
- Trustees of charitable funds
- Religious organisations
- Trusts of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
The government does not consider that investing funds other than as part of its role in administering client money is the core business of the Public Trustee.
From 1 July 2019 the Public Trustee has ceased accepting any new deposits, with the service to be fully phased out by 30 June 2021. This will enable the existing clients (approximately 230) sufficient time to seek the necessary accounting and taxation advice, and arrange for an alternative investment provider.
Merging the Public Trustee and the Office for the Public Advocate
The State Government has announced its intention to merge the Public Trustee and the Office of the Public Advocate, under reforms aimed at improving services to vulnerable South Australians
The proposed merger would see customers and clients who currently use the services of both the Public Trustee and Office of the Public Advocate dealing with one agency that addresses all of their needs, providing a more consistent and coordinated service.
The Public Advocate (opa.sa.gov.au) advocates on behalf of South Australians with a mental incapacity, investigating matters where an individual with a mental incapacity is at risk and can also manage decisions relating to a mentally incapacitated client’s accommodation, health, lifestyle and access.
It is important to note that the proposed merger will require legislative change – meaning that State Parliament will ultimately decide if the merger proceeds.