Access to advice valued highly

The power of financial advice is global as over three-quarters of employers believe their employees value the ability to access financial advice, a State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) report has found.

This mentality was felt the most with Irish employers at 83%, followed by US at 81%, UK at 78%, the Netherlands at 71%, and Australia at 61%.

“As more of the global pensions industry moves from older defined benefit to defined contribution designs, the questions the Australian industry has faced over advice have become global questions,” the report said.

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The SSGA global retirement report also found that investment returns and fees of a super fund were less important than the fund’s simplicity.

While investment returns and fees were mathematically critical to generating solid retirement outcomes, the calculations were useless if members did not understand enough to engage.

“What we witnessed in our survey was a strong local and global focus on simplicity and ease of use over and above investment returns or fees,” the report said.

The report found 37% of employers said ‘making sure it is easy for employees to use and understand’ a super fund was the more important when it came to selecting a provider.

Another 27% said it was ‘making sure the plan is easy for the employer to implement, maintain and monitor’, 22% ‘minimising cost and/or fees charged’ was most important, and 14% said it was ‘ensuring the plan offers an appropriate range of investment options’.

ESG considerations were also high on the list as 61% of employers said it was important that their investments incorporated companies with ethical values.

“As battles for employer default fund status are waged over the coming years, we believe that funds with a clear ESG proposition for both employers and prospective members will start with an advantage over their competitors,” the report said.

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