Industry fund makes tech play to combat unpaid super

Australia's largest superannuation fund, with more than $120 billion under management, is hoping to tackle the problem of unpaid super with a mobile application upgrade.

The AustralianSuper app, which first launched in 2015, will allow members to receive alerts so they know when the latest superannuation payments have arrived in their account.

AustralianSuper's group executive member experience and advice, Shawn Blackmore, said the app had the potential to reduce the instances of people not being paid their rightful entitlements.

"It is really important that people receive what they are entitled to, and with the technology we have it is easier to check your super than ever before," Blackmore said.

"Alerts will pop up on a mobile device saying that your super has been paid. Obviously if you don't receive an alert it's a cue to contact payroll to see where your money is."

Earlier this year, Cbus and Industry Super Australia released a joint report which estimated Australians were missing $3.6 billion in superannuation each year.

A survey of Cbus members also found 14.7% reported experiencing a problem with unpaid superannuation and only 60% of members were confident their super had been paid. More than a third of those who had experienced unpaid super reported that their issue had not been resolved.

"People can take things into their own hands by using the app to track their super, rather than relying on the ATO to discover any issues," Blackmore said.

Other key features of the app allow members to: view their super balance and transaction history, download and view their last financial year statements, view their investment options and returns, view and change their insurance cover, and edit and change their investment options.

A 2015 report released by IQ Group, which was based on a survey of Australia's top 50 super funds, demonstrated the industry was only making "incremental" steps towards greater digital engagement with their member-bases.

The report also noted that despite over a fifth (21%) of Australians exclusively accessing the internet via mobile devices, only 18% of funds offered mobile apps for members, and none offered employer-specific mobile tools.

IQ Group 2015 Superannuation Industry Digital Engagement Study

Looking to the future, AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk told the audience at a Reuters Newsmaker event last week that the next five years will see artificial intelligence come into play.

"About five years ago when we were talking about technological impact we were thinking about smarter factories. Now we're seeing artificial intelligence coming into vogue in legal offices, and it's just starting to come into funds management," Silk said.

"We're not specifically investing in AI, but we are looking at companies that are involved in AI. We've got team working on how AI is going to impact investment portfolios."

The AustralianSuper app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times and the fund is continuously looking at new and innovative ideas to improve their technology offering.

Read more: AppAustralianSuperApplicationCbusTechnologyUpgradeIan SilkReuters NewsmakerShawn Blackmore
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