Super funds hard to engage with: Research

About 67% of superannuation fund members who attempted to engage their super fund in the last 12 months gave up, according to new research.

New insights from the Investment Trends Super Fund Member Sentiment and Communications Report shows 67% of super fund members attempted to engage with their super fund and were unsuccessful in their endeavours.

The most commonly unresolved member issues were seeking financial advice, comparing super, accessing super on mobile devices and attending a seminar or accessing educational content.

"The most commonly unaddressed super-related activities were also those perceived as the most difficult to conduct," Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said.

"Given members' significant appetite for advice and education, super funds must improve their access to the services most sought after by their members."

The report also found super fund loyalty is on the rise - with more Australians choosing to stick with their fund when they change employers.

Cbus, ESSSuper and UniSuper lead in satisfaction rankings among members. The high satisfaction rate for those funds was driven by website usability and quality of annual statements amongst other factors.

About 63% of people who changed jobs in the last three years chose to stay in their current fund -  up from 54% in 2017.

Choi said: "When changing jobs, more Australians are making a conscious decision to stay with their current super fund instead of passively accepting their new employer's default option."

He puts this shift in part down to the Royal Commission raising consciousness around super and marketing efforts by industry super funds.

"While Australians are increasingly loyal to their existing super fund, the industry cannot rest on its laurels in supporting, educating and informing its members," added Choi.

The survey found 39% of members read their annual statement, 28% visited their funds' website and 28% read regular communications.

Responsible investing was highlighted in the report as an important way for funds to attract and retain members.

About 34% of super fund members said it was "very important" that their super fund offers responsible investing options.

Interestingly, that sentiment actually increases with age - disproving the idea that millennials are the fund members who care the most about responsible investing and ESG concerns.

Forty three percent of retirees ranked responsible investing as very important to them, compared to 28% of millennials.

"There is strong interest in ESG-centric investments within super among Australians young and old. While the current product range is playing catch up to consumer demand, this represents an opportunity for super funds to differentiate," Choi explained.

Read more: Investment TrendsKing Loong ChoiCbusESSSuperRoyal CommissionUniSuper
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