Superannuation survey reveals need for new digital tools

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Australia’s superannuation system is the fourth largest in the world and has the highest rate of return in the OECD, making it one of the most successful systems worldwide.

But does that translate into customer satisfaction?

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. recently announced the results of its inaugural Superannuation Stealth Survey, conducted in the September quarter with a sample of 208 respondents, and the outcome was surprising.

Australians want their superannuation fund to create better digital tools to help them manage their finances, offer more online interaction and develop more effective means to educate members.

Jude Metcalfe, SS&C Australia managing director, said: “The survey showcases the opportunity for super funds to differentiate and secure loyalty from existing members and attract new ones.

“As super funds navigate through a constantly evolving and increasingly competitive environment, digital experiences can significantly improve member outcomes resulting in retention.

“The challenge is to take advantage of the technological sophistication and flexibility available to implement digital tools customised to the ever-evolving way members engage.”

Better planning tools
Most respondents were satisfied with their fund but wanted better online retirement planning tools and instructions on how to use them.

More than 80 per cent of participants reported that they had not accessed any retirement planning tools, despite financial experts stressing that planning is critical to a smooth retirement. Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) said that even if their fund offered retirement planning tools, they were unaware of how to use them, suggesting funds need to better promote existing tools.

Improved communication
Survey respondents also said they wanted more frequent and meaningful engagement with their fund on retirement planning, regulatory changes and product fees.

The survey reported:

  • 27 per cent have contact once per year
  • 25 per cent have contact quarterly
  • 4 per cent said they have “never” been contacted
  • 90 per cent of survey respondents said they would prefer to be contacted electronically.

Embrace technology
A mobile app was important, respondents said, so they could see all their information at a glance. Some funds have apps, but not all.

Enlarge the fine print
Respondents also wanted greater clarification on fees.

  • 18 per cent said they never heard about changes to fees and charges from their funds
  • 44 per cent reported receiving updates on fees and charges just once a year.

The survey shows that satisfaction with super funds varies with age. Fewer than half as many participants under 55 said they were “very satisfied” with their fund compared to the over-55 cohort. Younger respondents offered more neutral feelings about their fund, which may suggest funds need to engage members at an earlier age to stop them from switching. The longer members stay with a fund, the less likely they are to consider changing.

How often are you contacted by your super fund? Do you believe funds embrace technological advances? Have you used any online retirement planning tools?

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Written by Ellie Baxter

4 Comments

Total Comments: 4
  1. 1
    0

    “Younger respondents offered more neutral feelings about their fund, which may suggest funds need to engage members at an earlier age to stop them from switching.”

    Disagree with this statement.
    They need to engage with members so members understand the importance of super in the first place. Forget about customer retention being the primary reason. If people are engaged, understand super and the fund offers a good product that meets the needs of the member, the member will stay.

    Fail at any of these and you have more chance of retaining the member by ignoring them. Out of sight out of mind. I’d say the vast majority never give super a second throught until they are well over 50 and staring down the barrel of retirement.

  2. 0
    0

    Super funds DO communicate with members, or at least that is been our experience with two industry super funds. Many have planner type facilities to model future situations, run info sessions as well as provide access to ‘pay per play’ financial advisers.

    As KSS has said people do need to engage with their super fund and not just file/forget their communications. And with 60 as the earliest age for access to super pensions for almost all now it is some thing that tends to be ‘put off’ or ignored until late in the piece.

  3. 0
    0

    Most of that is fairly trivial. Just need the super fund to be a top performer for growth/returns, thats all !!

  4. 0
    0

    Should have added also; lowest fees possible !!


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