by James Thomson

Fund manager Geoff Wilson, who led a vocal campaign against Labor’s plan to eliminate franking credit refunds, says Bill Shorten’s team badly underestimated the “ripple effect” the policy would have on self-funded retirees and their families.

Mr Wilson is the founder of Wilson Asset Management, which has 80,000 mainly self-funded retiree investors. He pointed to figures showing that the biggest swings against Labor came from voters aged over 65 as evidence of the impact of the franking credit proposal on the election result.

“It was an inequitable and illogical policy that should never have been taken to the Australian people,” he told The Australian Financial Review on Sunday. “And it appears it has been a significant part of their downfall.”

But he said the impact was felt beyond just older Australians. In a survey taken by his firm in the last weeks of the campaign, 47 per cent of respondents claimed their children and grandchildren would vote against the policy.

“I think Labor totally underestimated the inter-generational impact of their retirement tax,” Mr Wilson said.

“If someone has done the right thing all their life, and has worked under a system for 20 years and suddenly gets told they are losing 30 per cent of the income, that not only affects them but has a significant ripple effect on their children and their grandchildren.”

WAM launched its campaign against the changes almost as soon as they were announced by Labor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen early last year.

Read more in the Australian Financial Review.