Almost two-thirds of consumers have said that the COVID-19 crisis has already directly impacted their financial position, according to a new study, which has reported superannuation fund members and investment holders are demanding reassurance from their funds.
MetLife Australia has completed COVID-19 insights research looking into the behaviours of Australians to understand how the financial services sector can better support them through the virus-shaken period.
The online survey included 500 Australians aged 18-65 years.
While half of the respondents in the MetLife survey said they had received coronavirus-related communications from financial providers, only 26 per cent said they had checked their super balance.
The figure increased with participants who had a financial adviser – 30 per cent had checked their super balance and 11 per cent had changed their investment strategy.
Chesne Stafford, chief customer and marketing officer at MetLife Australia said that super funds and financial advisers have a significant role to play in helping ease the financial stress of their customers.
“According to our research, 58 per cent of people surveyed claim that COVID-19 has already directly impacted their financial situation, and in the face of financial uncertainty and fluctuating markets, there is an important opportunity for financial providers to step up and help their customers,” Ms Stafford said.
Super fund members and investors alike ranked transparent communications, including what options are available; reassurance that fund managers have experience in navigating through a financial downturn and what they are doing to manage the current situation as top requirements.
Investors also were reported to want greater transparency in regard to investment returns and where funds are being invested; clear guidance with regards to their investment options; early access to funds, rolling over funds, available tools and financial advice consultations, as well as easy options for contacting their fund managers via multiple channels.
“Providing regular communications across a variety of channel options, transparent information on COVID-19-related topics and the reassurance of a long-term investment view are all simple steps that financial providers can take to relieve their customers’ stress and support their overall wellbeing,” Ms Stafford said.
“Alleviating financial stress can be a crucial factor to reducing mental health-related issues. By going the extra mile, financial providers can develop deeper relationships with their customer base that will last beyond the crisis.”
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].