A new survey from Investment Trends has found that superannuation fund members have gained awareness, with rising demand for deeper education and engagement.
The 2019 Super Fund Member Sentiment and Communications Report has shown that three-quarters of super fund members interacted with their super fund in some way, shape or form in the last 12 months. However, many members were reported to want to engage with their super fund at a deeper level but were unsuccessful.
Most members interacted with funds by reading the annual statement (39 per cent), visiting their fund’s website (28 per cent) or reading regular communications (28 per cent).
Across 22 super-related activities observed, the most commonly unresolved member issues were seeking financial advice (face-to-face), comparing their super fund to other funds, accessing their super through a mobile device, attending a seminar and accessing educational content.
“The most commonly unaddressed super-related activities were also those perceived as the most difficult to conduct,” Mr Choi said.
“Given members’ significant appetite for advice and education, super funds must improve their access to the services most sought after by their members.
“An industry-wide gap exists for education initiatives, with satisfaction for webinars, seminars and education materials lagging behind satisfaction for fees and charges. This highlights members’ appetite to learn more in their quest to engage more deeply with their super.”
Super fund loyalty was found to have risen, with 63 per cent of Australians staying with their current fund instead of going with their new employer’s default option when switching jobs, compared to 54 per cent in 2017.
Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said the royal commission has contributed to increased consumer awareness.
“Increased marketing efforts by industry super funds and recent rumblings from the royal commission have further raised consciousness around superannuation, prompting more Australians to move from casual to mindful stewards of their own super,” he said.
“While Australians are increasingly loyal to their existing super fund, the industry cannot rest on its laurels in supporting, educating and informing its members.”
A third of super fund members surveyed said it is “very important” that their super fund offers responsible investing options among their range of funds, with the research concluding ESG investing will be an important retention tool.
Notably, 43 per cent of retirees have said responsible investing in their superannuation is “very important” in contrast to 28 per cent of Millennials, contrary to the common notion that younger investors are driving the ethical and ESG sectors.
The highest-rated super funds for customer satisfaction in the report were ESSSuper, UniSuper and Cbus.
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.
Sarah has a dual bachelor's degree in science and journalism from the University of Queensland.
You can contact her on [email protected].
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