ANZ offers free super advice

ANZ is offering free financial advice to women with less than $50,000 in super.

ANZ offers free super advice

In a push to help bridge the gender wealth gap, ANZ is offering free financial advice to women with less than $50,000 in superannuation. The bank is also helping its own female staff to retire better funded with an additional $500-a-year contribution to their super fund.

The moves are aimed at addressing the gender pay gap that sees women earn, on average $700,000 less than men over their career. "We're calling out and trying to close this gap – [the initiative] is not perfect, but we're making progress," the bank's chief executive of global wealth Joyce Phillips said. "Over time, we believe these new measures will help improve the financial security of women at ANZ by directly targeting the areas of advice, superannuation and financial education."

The opportunities for women to enter higher education have improved drastically over the years, with 42 per cent of women aged between 25-29 earning a degree, compared with 31 per cent of men in the same age bracket. However, this doesn’t translate into equal salaries with women being paid on average $15,000 less per year than men and retiring with half the superannuation of their male counterparts.

Almost 40 per cent of women report having no income of their own at retirement age and 20 per cent retire with no superannuation at all. Sadly, 15 per cent of women will retire in poverty.

To help its female customers make the most of what little they do have, ANZ has trained its financial planners and private bankers to better connect with women.

"There is an opportunity for us to address these imbalances at ANZ, and to work to redesign the systems within both business and the community to support women's success and financial wellbeing for the future," Ms Phillips said. 

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Opinion: It’s a start

All too often we’re more than happy to bash the big four banks for being all take and no give, so it’s nice to finally hear of one trying to make a difference, even if it’s only a small step in the right direction.

The reality is that a vast number of people are financially unprepared for retirement. Many simply haven’t had the chance to save enough super due to the employer superannuation guarantee only being in place since 1991, while others may have assumed that the Age Pension would have risen sufficiently over the years to a level that could fund a modest retirement. Whatever the reasons, saving for life in retirement hasn’t been easy for those who have already retired, or will do so in the near future.

For women the struggle to save enough for retirement has been even greater. Time out to raise a family, part-time and piecemeal employment and the ever-present pay gap mean that women simply can’t fund their own retirement through super. And while younger generations have longer to save, the gender pay inequality will have a lasting impact. Earning $700,000 less over their lifetime less than male counterparts results in $64,750 less in employer super contributions (based on 9.25 per cent) for women. And this doesn’t take into consideration the lost compound returns this money would generate in a super fund.

An extra $500 in super per year for female staff may not make them rich at retirement, but it will give women slightly more options than they have currently. And if other larger employers follow suit, it will go a little way to bridge the gap.

In a financial landscape where the resources for free, qualified financial advice are scarce, the move by ANZ to help women with less than $50,000 in superannuation should be applauded – with a little reservation. While it’s often said it’s better to do something than nothing, it’s worth bearing in mind that ANZ does have a vested interest in the growing superannuation and financial services sector. And while its planners and advisors have a duty to provide information that is in the best interest of customers, I can’t see them recommending products from non-ANZ providers. But hey, I could be wrong.

If offered, would you take free advice from any bank? Is it fair that only female staff will receive the extra $500 per year?


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    Nan Norma
    29th Jul 2015
    I'm afraid I'm a little sceptic about this offer. Is it to attract new custumers? $50,000 isn't really very much these days and with only that amount of money I'd be very careful where I parked it. Most banks aren't even paying the deeming rate and going into the share market in risky.
    29th Jul 2015
    Like Nan Norma, I'm very skeptical. I suggest that perhaps the SMH article was based on a media release by ANZ Bank.

    The Opinion stated above is probably correct. ANZ has a vested interest, and although they are obliged to always give advice that is in the customer's best interests, there are loopholes. The biggest loophole is that there is no obligation to demonstrate that a competitor's product is cheaper or better. So, for example, the advice may be (correctly) that a person should look at salary sacrifice, or even pay more into the super fund from after-tax income. Both are good super strategies. Additionally, the advice may be to consolidate all super into one fund to reduce fees - again, good advice. At this point it is probable that the customer would then be offered a super fund that provides good returns that meets all their needs (insurance, takes pre and post tax contributions, allows easy transfer from other funds). The customer then signs up for this (retail) fund, but because the bank doesn't have to advise that industry funds have lower fees (and therefore the end result will be better for the customer), the customer will actually lose out.

    Rather than go to a bank or other supplier for super advice, it''s better to go to an independent service - either an independent financial advisor (who will charge for the advice), or to government websites like
    29th Jul 2015
    Do you know what? If you go to Harvey Norman there is no obligation to demonstrate that a competitor's product is cheaper or better.
    29th Jul 2015
    I think this is a timely reminder to all working women that it is very important to look ahead and start placing at least 5% of you wage into superannuation. After awhile you won't even miss it as we all tend to live to our means and spend what we have. With generous salary sacrificing ( if you have it ) Often the amount you save in tax pays for the amount you put into superannuation, ie no change in you actual take home pay!! I started a superannuation scheme for my wife when she commenced full time work at the age of 50 and she will be able to retire at 60 with approx $200,000 or more in her back pocket. It's not that hard to do It just means giving up some things in the short term to gain big in the longer term.
    29th Jul 2015
    Normally, No one wants to know you if you have less than 100,00 in superannuation. Good on you ANZ, of course you have a vested interest, but well done to recognise the predicament of women - and lots of men of the baby boomer generation. You are right, not everyone was even aware of super until it became law. We worked just as hard as those with degrees and higher wages and often worked several jobs to make ends meet. I'm fairly sure there are many, many people in this sector. Good on you ANZ.
    29th Jul 2015
    This is a Yes, but.... situation.

    Yes, its good that ANZ are offering free advice to women with low super, BUT they will only be recommending ANZ products which may or may not the best product for the customer. Can't see them telling the customer to go elsewhere for a better deal.

    Yes, its good ANZ are offering $500 a year extra super to women, BUT why are they not addressing the underlying pay disparity between their male and female staff instead?

    Yes its good that ANZ are looking after their female staff BUT is this not discrimination against their male staff who may well be paid the same as women?

    Yes its good that free super advice is being offered to any woman with less than $50000 in super BUT what are they going to do for men in the same position?

    Yes its good that female ANZ staff will get an extra $500 a year in super (plus the compound interest) BUT will those same women be encouraged to match it in salary sacrifice to make a real difference in their future or will it passed off as a 'pay rise package' only for women? i.e. take some responsibility for their own super/pension.

    Yes its good that ANZ are paying an extra $500 into the super of their female staff BUT do the women have a choice about which superfund they can use (i.e. not an ANZ fund)?

    Yes its good that ANZ are paying an extra $500 into the super of their female staff BUT does that apply to ALL their female staff or only those paid under a certain amount? If so all female staff, is that really necessary for say a Senior Manager? If not where do they draw the line?

    Yes its good that ANZ will contribute the extra $500 to super for their female staff BUT does it apply to all women or just those with children? (Because those with children have taken a break from work).

    This could go on. It deserves careful consideration before they are congratulated too fulsomely when the devil is ALWAYS in the detail. They are a bank after all!

    29th Jul 2015
    Ha ha, I bet that will be 'impartial"!!
    Golden Oldie
    29th Jul 2015
    Hopefully this will be better than my experience back in the late 90's. I had a bank financial advisor meet me at home for financial advice. I wanted information on what I could do to invest my excess money after I had paid off my mortgage in about 6 months time. He found out that I did not have thousands to invest immediately, and he was out of the door in less than 5 minutes. Needless to say, when I retired, having saved all the money no longer needed for the mortgage, and a fairly substantial super fund, this bank was not even considered for financial advice.
    29th Jul 2015
    don't be conned the anz has a shocking record of ripping of customers and inside trading which they got into a lot of trouble with be very careful I would not trust any of the banks
    29th Jul 2015
    Just do not trust them, you must go to an independent financial adviser, never never go to a bank "adviser".

    29th Jul 2015
    If it's free it can't be worth too much if it is from someone you don't know. Banks I certainly wouldn't trust. The old hackneyed cliche "If you can't trust your bank manager, who can you trust?" hasn't had any validity for a loooong time now. Years ago, a manager at the CBA said to me when I made quite a sizeable term deposit "We (meaning the bank) don't make anything on these you know", like I was supposed to be honoured they even let me in the bank! Banks are there for your money and their own monetary gain. The only interest they have is the piddling amount they MAY add to your account with them. Interest rates are even dodgy with most of them. If you were to check interest rates right now on the Internet and phone the same ADI/s early tomorrow morning when they opened many of them will tell you the rate you saw was days old. Shop around for the best interest rates and accounts. If you want a "working" account for daily shopping without fees and unlimited free monthly transactions (withdrawals, EFTPOS purchases, etc.), but without interest, the ANZ has a free one for Aged Pensioners. Good luck.

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