Funds need more access to members’ financial data: Cooper

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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?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 36
  1. 0

    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?

    • 0

      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.

  2. 0

    I would be extremely unhappy to have the superfunds to access my data

  3. 0

    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.

  4. 0

    Gee I’m glad I have a SMSF.

    • 0

      And you see why Short-on wants to demolish SMSFs? It’s all about CONTROL.

    • 0

      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.

  5. 0

    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.

  6. 0

    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.

    • 0

      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.

  7. 0

    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?

  8. 0

    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.

    • 0

      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?

    • 0

      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?

  9. 0

    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.

    • 0

      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.

  10. 0

    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.

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