Investor and retiree groups have kicked off a national campaign to stop a future Labor government killing off franking credit refunds.

More than 100 retirees and leaders of industry groups gathered in Sydney on Tuesday morning to highlight what they claim are the negative effects of a policy sold as being targeted at wealthy Australians.

Veteran fund manager Geoff Wilson said the proposal would hit many people who had voted Labor all their lives and people with the least capacity to adjust to the changes.

Groups including the SMSF Association, the Australian Shareholders Association and WA Self Fund Retirees have joined other groups in setting up the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System.

They are pushing against a policy unveiled by Labor in July to stop people claiming cash refunds of franking credits they do not otherwise use to reduce annual payable income tax.

Under pressure, Labor modified its policy just weeks later to allow pensioners to claim credits on directly held shares. It also grandfathered credits for self-managed super funds for people who were age pensioners as of March 28.

The policy threatens the retirement plans of people who had put a lot of their wealth in self-managed superannuation fund structures that overwhelming enjoyed tax-free status in retirement phase.

Mr Wilson read from a letter from a 68-year-old retiree who had a dependent adult child who had built up an SMSF and relied on $25,000 in franking credits to pay her rent.

The woman wrote she would lose her franking credits, as would her daughter with her $800 of annual credits, but she didn’t have the time “to change direction to counteract this sort of loss”.

“The wealthy have the means to deal with these sort of changes”, she wrote.

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