Funds need more access to members’ financial data: Cooper

Super funds need more access to members’ financial data, says expert.

Could your fund perform better?

The man behind the comprehensive investigation into Australia’s superannuation system, Jeremy Cooper, says super funds should have more access to member’s financial data, so they can better serve customers.

Mr Cooper, who chaired the Cooper Review in 2009 and 2010, feels the biggest hurdles funds face are not being able to access reliable financial data and not understanding the retirement goals of members.

The current Challenger Chair of Retirement Income, he believes that giving funds access to data collected by government agencies and banks may help retiring Australians better plan for their futures.

He said that some “very large funds” in Australia had limited knowledge of their customers, with information restricted to balance, street address and name, and that funds are simply operating in default mode when they could be doing so much more.

From that position, being able to offer a 21st-century retirement solution, [is a challenge],” said Mr Cooper.

“And, of course, when you’ve got hundreds of thousands of members, or in some cases millions, that just adds to the enormity of the problem.”

He suggests enabling funds to access Centrelink records, information from the Australian Taxation Office or even the ability to procure information from the Federal Government’s Review into Open Banking in Australia – all of which have inherent problems that go beyond privacy issues.

One challenge is how to formulate the data so that it’s useful for super funds. Another issue is how will this data be used, for instance, could a super fund pass customer information onto a contracting analyst?

“If we work on the principle that most members trust their super fund more than they trust their bank … maybe that creates opportunities for super funds to enter that space,” said Nick White, Mercer Global Director of Portfolio Construction Research.

Mr Cooper said that super funds need to include data for future governance purposes, making it “part of the culture of whatever organisation you’re in – to really value that data and value the single source of truth of it – and to make sure that data is really regarded as important, because that’s where your customer edge comes from”.

He also gave a nod to the self-managed superannuation industry, because it already knows the financial and retirement goals of its retirees, calling it the gold standard to which the industry as a whole should aspire.

Read more at Investment Magazine

Would trust your super fund with full access to your financial data?

All content on the YourLifeChoices' website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care, but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness with regard to your circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances. Financial comments provided by readers cannot be relied on as professional advice, but as general comments only.



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    18th Apr 2018
    I would not be happy to give access to super funds. Enough organisations can access our data and financial situations already. Otherwise we might just as well give access to anyone who wants it......maybe that's the plan for the future. Realistically, anyone with smart internet skills already knows how to do this. Just that most folk are more responsible. How responsible would big organisations be I wonder?
    18th Apr 2018
    Lucky I left all super funds at age 65 - things are getting more
    complex all the time. Why would they want access to the ATO as well?
    C/Link has already all the data after age 65 anyway.
    18th Apr 2018
    I would be extremely unhappy to have the superfunds to access my data
    18th Apr 2018
    I would not be happy at all with this approach. Trust is the issue for me. I have little trust in what big organisations say and then do. I believe it is up to the individual to disclose the information that is required and that giving access electronically to all your information is a bad move.
    Old Geezer
    18th Apr 2018
    Gee I'm glad I have a SMSF.
    19th Apr 2018
    And you see why Short-on wants to demolish SMSFs? It's all about CONTROL.
    23rd Apr 2018
    The mobsters in Chicago went legit. Got into rubbish removal and retirement funds. Why should it be any different in OZ?

    We are transporting rubbish all over the country at a huge cost to taxpayers. Some folks are getting rich on rubbish, and I'm not talking about the $70 per tonne on the global market.

    We are handing our retirement savings to so called industry boards.
    Many people see a problem with this, as evidenced by the rise and rise of the SMSF. 96% of super funds in Australia are SMSFs now.
    18th Apr 2018
    Huh, whats that all about ??
    "He also gave a nod to the self-managed superannuation industry, because it already knows the financial and retirement goals of its retirees, calling it the gold standard to which the industry as a whole should aspire."
    It is the Industry Super Funds who give the best results for members.
    Old Geezer
    18th Apr 2018
    I certainly wouldn't swap my SMSF for an industry super fund.
    18th Apr 2018
    johnp, you keep believing that if it makes you feel good.
    18th Apr 2018
    Try and get your money out and see what happens johnp.
    18th Apr 2018
    Have got money out previously from another Industry fund basically to consolidate all into one and didnt have a problem, was done in about a week. In any case have look at these links which supports the case for Industry Funds.
    18th Apr 2018
    Yes but try and get it out for yourself into your bank account johnpt it is a whole different story.
    Old Geezer
    18th Apr 2018
    I suggest you look at your whole financial picture. Is it advantageous financially for you to have super at all? If yes then where can you put it so that you get what you feel comfortable with?
    18th Apr 2018
    He must be joking. Trust those mobs?? Can't he read what those fund managers are doing???
    Compulsory superannuation, that is designed specifically for peoples' retirement and to reduce the call on the public purse, should NOT be "invested" in "managed funds" which are nothing more than gamblers' dens, with thousands of abusers (the fund managers) raking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the system that rightfully belongs to the prospective retirees. It is an oxymoron.
    ALL compulsory contributions should be placed in Australian government bonds for their lifetime, which is "managed", it would only need to be supervised, by someone like the Reserve Bank of Australia.
    No commissions, no hundreds of "investment products" no vested interests for fraudsters. Imagine expecting banks and fund managers NOT to favour their own products when giving "advice" and being paid a premium bonus for doing so??? What an absolute farce and clearly explains why they didn't want a Royal Commission!!!
    Yet, our government said that a Royal Commission would be an absolute waste of time and just a lawyers picnic.
    What does that say about their "judgment"???

    If people want to contribute extra from their own funds they can do what they like and take the standard risks that go with all investments.
    But, compulsory superannuation contributions should never be exposed to the casinos they call stock and commodity markets. They are for gamblers and compulsory superannuation should NEVER be exposed to the vagaries of gambling.
    19th Apr 2018
    Grateful, I could agree with some of what you say except for this NONSENSE that sensible, structured investing in stock and commodity markets is ''gambling''. What utter garbage! There is NO OTHER WAY to earn money in superannuation funds in the current economic environment. Putting it in the bank is useless. Government bonds are not returning well.

    Stock markets do rise and fall. That's a fact. So does property. But a sensible investor taking a disciplined approach and following a sound plan can make money whether the market is rising, falling or going sideways. And superannuation fund managers are supposed to be disciplined investors using carefully devised plans. Most have proved, over the past few years at least, that they are. Most funds have made money - much more money than they would have made investing in government bonds. And they have done it by investing in stock and commodity markets. There was - and is - no ''gambling'' involved. They use science.

    Stop the ill-informed emotional rants and study the facts. You are making yourself look foolish with this nonsense.

    BTW. If you are a pensioner, and I suspect you are, you are a GAMBLER. You are gambling on the fact that the nation will continue to support people who didn't plan to support themselves. Now, I'm not denigrating pensioners. But I think it's kind of insane to suggest that it's okay to gamble on the government continuing to pay pensioners, or even on the government continuing to be economically strong enough to honour government bonds, yet to frown on a system that was designed to enable wealth accumulation that will enable the nation to continue to pay pensions.

    Banks have failed. Money isn't SAFE anywhere. Everyone living in today's economy is gambling one way or another - whether we like it or not. But stock market investing is a science, and it has a very low failure rate if pursued responsibly by educated people following a sound plan.

    If you are going to attempt influence the future of the nation - whether by voting or expressing opinions on forums - you have an obligation to deal in fact and common sense, and not in emotion or assumption.
    18th Apr 2018
    Many years ago at the start of the English television series 'The Prisoner' which starred Patrick McGoohan, the character 'No.1', in reply to McGoohan's question 'what do you want?' always gave the answer 'information!'.
    Handing over personal information without a 'quid pro quo' is handing over power and control foolishly to others. This is the basis of all totalitarian states. All the BS about providing a better service is designed to disguise what they are doing.
    The superannuation industry exists to provide the best financial returns possible to its members. Additional information about its members is not going to improve its performance. No organisation, let alone government, will guarantee security of personal information (e.g. Facebook), and in an age of identity theft, why would we want to make that possibility much easier?
    18th Apr 2018
    I think Cooper has a point.
    It is counter productive to think in terms of separating ones financial arrangements. The total picture needs to be considered within the guidelines of goals and objectives.
    The Cooper idea would see the cost of Financial Planning reduced while at the same time offer consumers more transparency.
    Old Geezer
    18th Apr 2018
    What good would it be having my personal financial data? I may have very different financial objectives than other people with the same financial assets so if they don't know what a person's objectives are how can they help people achieve them?

    For example I could be person who just wants their money safe and earn just enough to live on or I could be a person in the same financial position who wants to make 5 times what I need to live on. How can they tell this from a person's other financial information?
    19th Apr 2018
    Well they cant of course. But you're thinking in terms of what you can hold back, what you can keep secret. And all that remains, once your accurate financial position is revealed, is your objectives and needs. Refuse to reveal that then you refuse help. Compredre?
    I'm assuming that if Cooper is asking for improved knowledge of a members position then he has evidence of super advisors often being in the dark about a clients position. And if they lie (or are unsure) about their position then they would also lie about their objectives because within their objectives often lies a resemblance of positional play toward those objectives. Comprendre?

    18th Apr 2018
    We have an annual review with our super fund manager and prior to the review we are asked to provide our current financial position. We're happy with that but we don't want our super fund to have any access to any personal financial matters. That is an invasion of privacy. We have our privacy invaded each and every day with CCTV and every time we use a debit card, Opal Card, club membership card, mobile phone or anything with a magnetic strip and that is too much.
    18th Apr 2018
    Agree, already too much lack of privacy.
    When we need a review, we can provide relevant information.

    Their objective seems to be to increase their profits via marketing, etc, once they get more information, not to benefit anyone out of kindness - MUST NOT BE ALLOWED.
    18th Apr 2018
    Shock and horror!

    We are witnessing at the RC the shenanigans by AMP who are key players in the private superannuation industry and someone wants to give these cowboys access to our personal data?

    I don't know what substance you're abusing, but I think I need some.
    18th Apr 2018
    Instead of snooping round Centrelink and the tax office, why don't the funds try actually talking to their 'customers' about what they want and what their goals are instead? If they are really looking to find out more about their customers then they need to put the hard yards in and connect with them directly. Instead they package up 'offers' and the customers have to take it or leave it. Drop this attitude and there will be no need for rummaging through Centrelink and ATO records. The superfunds have no business asking for what benefits someone maybe claiming or how much tax they pay from what source. Their job is to invest the person's savings wisely, honestly and for the benefit of the person making the investment. Centrelink and the ATO have no need for any input into that.

    18th Apr 2018
    absolute nonsense
    fund managers should only e allocating assets based on the members wishes and risk appetite
    bad enough the lefties blame everyone else for their bad decisions, they will do the same with fund managers making independent decisions on their behalf even if they expressly gave them permission to do so
    18th Apr 2018
    I don’t think that they would help Australians plan for their future. More likely try and see who to tailor their particular products to, and forget the rest. It’s a ruse. Slowly, all our privacy is being eroded.
    18th Apr 2018
    I sometimes wonder who exactly is supposed to be running my life, me? facebook? Centrelink? my bank? all those god bothers in Parliament? and now my super fund wants in on the act.

    Sorry mate, it is my data, not yours or the bank's or centrelink's, or the government's to give away.

    It is bad enough knowing that those 'free' online services I use, like google and email, are spying on me and making a squillion by selling me to whoever will pay them. No need to worry about the Russians or Chinese yet when US corporations do it without notification or interference from the government payed to protect my rights.

    My super fund is eminently trustworthy I am sure. They manage my money well, but for good or ill, it is my money to choose how it is invested, not theirs to decide 'what's good for me' as if I am a child.

    Enough of this patronising paternalism. Spend some effort on educating us instead.

    18th Apr 2018
    What a load of cods - the funds operate as far outside the future planning of the contributors as they can and give what they give and nothing more. their first duty is to themselves and their board members etc - not their contributors.

    Control of information is power - this is just another grab for control of information about individuals who, if this continues, will be nothing more than clones ready to be bar coded across their foreheads.
    19th Apr 2018
    And some YLC members want to support the ALP's disgustingly unfair policy that will force everyone into these funds, despite the fact that they worked hard for decades to avoid being controlled by others AND to avoid living on the public purse in old age.

    Some YLC members now want them RIPPED OFF and losing 30% of their income for the apparent ''crime'' of working hard and saving well and accepting a small self-generated income in retirement rather than buying a bigger house, taking cruises, playing pokies, or whatever and putting their hands out for pensions.
    19th Apr 2018
    I wouldn’t trust the super funds. As it is they dont manage our funds well
    19th Apr 2018
    gday Trevine, which fund is that ?
    19th Apr 2018
    I've just been looking at an " Industry" Fund which claims to be open to anyone to join regardless of their industry or if they've retired. They also claim to have the lowest fees and are only managing the fund for the members' benefit.
    Why do we no longer have a "rate of return " published by these funds?
    Why do we only see the crediting rate and an estimate of trustee's fees.
    It has become so difficult for members to know what the Management Expenses Ratio is these days. This particular fund has an MER of just .21%. Doesn't sound like much, particularly when you see all the other fees expressed as flat dollar amounts. A quick calculation reveals that this trustees fee is $90m. How many board members and how many meetings must they have??
    19th Apr 2018
    Hi Trevine.. Try this site as it should answer yr questions and appears to rate most if not all the funds for which the industry super funds seem to have the best returns and low fees.
    there are other ratings agencies also.
    19th Apr 2018
    You have got to be joking ! This moron is in fairy land ! Has he not followed the scandals about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica strewing personal data all over the place ?
    20th Apr 2018

    The individual should decide what information any company gets about that individual.

    if the super funds want additional information so as to provide a 'better service', they should simply ask the fund member.
    23rd Apr 2018
    Richied, I agree. But that's not the question. The question as I see it is the accuracy of the advice given.
    Think of it in the way the PPS register is used or your medicare health history. You still need to give your authority for access by a third party and they need to have a reason to access your data.
    Like it or not, it will happen eventually.

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