Super funds that dismiss digital innovation because of 'regulatory problems' or 'IT problems' are inviting retail banks and tech start-ups to steal their business, says a Google Australia executive.
Speaking at the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds on the Gold Coast, Google Australia's industry leader, finance, Colin Barnard, said super funds were already behind the retail banks when it came to technology.
The big banks are essentially huge IT companies that move money around, Mr Barnard said.
"It's just that sometimes they get caught up in being community organisations – their branch networks get in the way."
As a result, the retail banks do not have anything to fear about digital disruption, Mr Barnard said.
"The Commonwealth Bank does a fantastic job of staying relevant," he said.
Despite Australia's relatively small population, CBA is one of the most innovative banks in the world, Mr Bernard added.
As long as the big banks continue to understand what their users want and buy out potentially disruptive start-ups, they have "nothing to fear", he said.
Banks can also leverage their transaction account relationships with customers to expand their "share of wallet" to home loans and superannuation, Mr Barnard said.
“Clearly the retail banks have an advantage there, and it's a potential disadvantage for superannuation funds.”
There is a possibility that industry superannuation funds could use their relationship with Members Equity Bank to expand their relationship with members, Mr Bernard said.
Super funds can also expand their data sharing with insurers to understand more about their members, he added.
“This could create an environment where you can pull all the information together, making it more relevant and engaging to people,” Mr Bernard said.
“Saying 'it's a regulatory problem' or 'it's an IT problem, I can't do it' will enable the retail banks or the disruptors to come in around the side.”
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