AustralianSuper checks out robo advisers

The $170 billion super fund is looking at robo advisers as a potential solution for providing financial advice to its members but says it's early days.

"We are looking at it but we haven't got any plans for any imminent introduction," AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk told Financial Standard at the sidelines of an ETF conference at the ASX last week.

"A lot of people are looking at robo advice. There are lots of options in the market."

Silk did not comment on what type of member demographic robo advice could work for.

"No specific goals, it is about getting a scalable quality advice model for as many people as possible and technology or robo advice is going to be a part of that solution but we haven't yet got that."

Silk said the number of advisers working with the fund is on the way up.

"They are increasing, the biggest increase we find is with external advisers," he said.

"So we have had a significant amount of what we call registered advisers, which have nothing to do with AustralianSuper and that's where we are seeing people getting advice from."

Superannuation funds directly employed 969 advisers at the end of March, up from 713 three years ago, according to Rainmaker analysis of ASIC data.

The biggest superannuation fund employer of advisers is State Super (281), followed by Industry Fund Services (106), Qinvest (94), UniSuper (74) and SunSuper (70).

Australia has six main companies offering robo advice (Absolute Advice, Clover, QuietGrowth, Six Park, Stock Spot and Raiz) while the US has 16 robo advisers covering 4.3 million clients and $320 billion in assets, according to Rainmaker Research.

Robo advisers in Australia have higher median fees (0.55% p.a. as compared to 0.35% in the US), more complex fee structures and fewer options, the research found.

Read more: adviceRobo adviceAustralianSuperIan SilkIndustry Fund Services
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