Superannuation survey reveals need for new digital tools

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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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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