Advice opportunity knocks for super funds

More than a quarter of superannuation fund members are seeking assistance on how to increase their super balance amid poor market conditions and instability, indicating an opportunity for super funds to enhance their financial advice offering.

Such was the finding of Investment Trends research, which said that while less than one-in-10 members felt their super savings would be adequate, the last 12 months had seen the growth of assets held in Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) funds stagnate for the first time in years.

The 2016 Member Sentiment and Communications Report, which was an in-depth study of super fund members' attitudes and behaviours based on a survey of more than 20,000 super fund members, found 30 per cent of respondents were "somewhat confident" about funding their retirement future but the majority were either ‘not sure' (25 per cent), ‘a bit nervous' (20 per cent), or ‘not at all confident' (15 per cent).

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Senior analyst, King Loong Choi, said: "Less than one-in-10 members say they are very confident they can finance their preferred retirement lifestyle from their super".

"The current uncertainty on super regulation is certainly not helping allay members' growing angst about their retirement future."

Long-term return expectations from super investments had also cooled, now at only 8.8 per cent per annum, down from the 9.2 per cent per annum recorded during each of the past three years.

Meanwhile, around 900,000 members left a super fund in the past 12 months, which was seven per cent of the member population, and down from the 11 per cent jump recorded last year, and the lowest switching in the past seven years.

But intentions to switch remained at similar levels as last year, with five per cent of super fund members considering leaving their current fund. More than a third of those intending to switch cited high fees as their reason, despite less than half knowing how much they actually paid.

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