Issues when seeking face-to-face financial advice is the number one unresolved problem most superannuation fund members have when engaging with their funds, and funds’ advice offerings were amongst the most poorly-rated services offered to members.
These were two of the findings of Investment Trends’ 2019 Super Fund Member Sentiment and Communications Report, which also revealed that three-quarters of members interacted with their fund in some way over the last year, including by reading the annual statement (39 per cent), visiting their fund’s website (28 per cent), and reading regular communications (28 per cent).
There was appetite to engage with funds at a deeper level however, with members trying but proving unsuccessful in their attempts to do so. In addition to the issues found with getting in-person financial advice, the most commonly unresolved member issues amongst the activities observed in the study, which drew on the views of more than 9,000 super fund members, were help comparing super funds to other funds, accessing super through mobile devises, and accessing seminars or education content.
“The most commonly unaddressed super-related activities were also those perceived as the most difficult to conduct,” Investment Trends senior analyst, King Loong 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.”
Advice again came under scrutiny when respondents were asked what their funds did well in terms of member engagement, with advice offerings and seminars and educational materials rated as poorest. Websites and the quality of annual statements were considered the best. Among the funds to gain the highest member satisfaction ratings, ESSSuper, UniSuper and Cbus led the pack.
Further, the report found that superannuation fund loyalty was on the rise, with members more likely to stay with their fund when they change jobs than previously. Of super fund members who changed job in the last three years, 63 per cent said they remained with their fund rather than changing to their new employer’s default. This was up from 54 per cent in 2017.
“When changing jobs, more Australians are making a conscious decision to stay with their current super fund instead of passively accepting their new employer’s default option,” Choi said.
“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.”