Survey reveals super fund strategic priorities
Friday, 12 February 2016 12:59pm

Post retirement products, member engagement and digital strategy remain top of superannuation funds' three-year strategic plans but new concerns are also being brought to the boardroom, according to a joint survey of fund chief executives by ASFA and PwC.

Chief executives representing retail, corporate, public sector and industry funds were asked to respond to a wide range of questions on everything from strategic priorities to investment and risk management.

Amid an ageing population, post retirement products were the leading area of focus in this year's survey, as they were last time around. The demographics story is also likely behind advice being the second strategic priority of chief executives - as more people transition to retirement they are more likely to need advice.

Super funds also fear the risk of not keeping pace with the technological revolution, as digital strategy comes third in the list of strategic priorities.

Fresh concerns highlighted in this year's survey which did not feature last year were data analytics, fund mergers or alliances, and the appointment of independent directors.

Nine out of 10 chief executives think high level objectives should be set for superannuation and retirement income. Many share the view that the purpose of super has been forgotten with too many Australian seeing it as a wealth creation vehicle.

Consistent with the 2014 survey, in which 65% if respondents rated their data quality as having improved, 74% of CEOs believe data quality has continued to improve in 2015.

CEOs were also positive about SuperStream, with 79% saying they had experienced few difficulties with data received through the channel.

Turning to investment management operations, last year, 70% of chief executives did not intend to insource asset management, down from 77% in 2013. This number has decreased again in 2015 to 63% of respondents not intending to increase in-house capabilities.

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