Engagement should be easier: Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission's final report into the efficiency and competitiveness of superannuation blasted the system for making engagement harder for fund members.

The Commission's final report took aim at the superannuation system and government for making engagement "harder than it ought to be" for members of superannuation funds, with over complex products, oft-changing rules, and a lack of easy-to-understand information all in the firing line.

The report said competition in superannuation was affected by regular changes to the system, and the challenges members face in figuring out who to turn to when they need help with super.

It added that even members who do engage with the super system faced difficulties in achieving the best outcomes, noting evidence supports the notion that some members make poor decisions with regards to their superannuation, which ultimately is an implication for the system's competitiveness.

In an aim to improve member engagement, the Commission recommended the Government introduce the long-mooted best-in-show shortlist, which it said would nudge members towards good products without forcing them to pick one.

The Commission also said low member engagement could be improved by tackling low levels of financial literacy in Australia, with the report recommending financial literacy programs be evaluated to determine their funding.

Another recommendation includes creating an independent member advocacy body, to give superannuation members a definitive source of independent information and assistance.

"The Australian Government should, as a priority, provide adequate ongoing funding to support an independent superannuation members' advocacy and assistance body," it said.

In December last year the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees recognised excellence and innovation in communication and member engagement, with AIST chief Eva Scheerlinck saying the awards demonstrated profit-to-member super funds were becoming more innovative in their efforts to connect with members and employers.

"Funds are increasingly using data to provide members with a more personal, individual narrative of their super journey," she said.

"Importantly, improving member outcomes is at the heart of these successful campaigns."

Read more: Productivity CommissionAustraliaAustralian Government
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