The next step is not new calculators


Since the late 1990s, online calculators have been implemented by many superannuation providers as one of the strategies towards improving member engagement. But in today’s digitally demanding world, do they deliver the outcomes required by the enterprises or their members? It seems not, according to Decimal Software. The next step must be one towards more meaningful digital engagement, says executive director JAN KOLBUSZ.


There’s plenty of choice when it comes to online calculators. Just about any financial institution – and many standalone offerings – have tools to determine the potential outcomes of contributing more to your super, increasing mortgage payments or shifting funds into higher risk, and potentially higher reward investments.

But Decimal Software research indicates that implementing a calculator on your website, while potentially encouraging some people to play, has had little impact on increasing retention and increasing FUM beyond system growth.

The key reason is that the call to action is typically to make a phone call, send an email or set up a face-to-face meeting. That’s often enough friction to prevent members moving any further. If the member is sufficiently confident to explore digitally, then the lack of an option to keep going digitally and receive actionable personal advice is a let down. It also does nothing to alleviate time pressure or increase productivity for most advisers.

The answer clearly is not to employ more advisers in the expectation that a fresher looking calculator, migrated to a smartphone, will find more members wanting to talk to an adviser; with the only choice being whether it is by phone or face to face.

The ideal outcome is to divert advisers to focus on larger or qualified accounts. At the same time, enterprises need to offer solutions to more members at low cost that can provide similarly targeted, meaningful, and convenient advice.

The ultimate goal should be that those members do not just receive an SOA, but that they can execute it simply and rely on automated updates as conditions change.

With the global appetite for digital, and a need to offer anywhere, anytime service, the time for online actionable personal advice is well and truly here.

There’s a single step up that can reduce non-productive time for advisers, reach many more members in ways that suit their usage habits, and fully automates the process of gathering, evaluating and advising on personal information.

That step is enterprise-grade digital personal advice. A member can choose to use it in simple “calculator mode”, but it also needs to be able to bring together all available information and seeks to clarify areas where there may be gaps.

Then it uses the information, coupled with various external influences, to generate a detailed SOA that can be actioned by the user, or passed to an adviser for verification and further discussion.

Ensuring everything is compliant, and that digital and adviser-driven advice are in sync, are two valid considerations with which super funds need to be comfortable before switching on digital advice.

Investing in a refresh of existing calculators does not move anyone’s digital strategy forward.  If by some marketing magic, a new calculator does generate an increase in members seeking advice, then the provider will have no choice but to start hiring more advisers. 

With the right technology platform for digital advice, a refreshed set of calculators is included as part of the experience. But your digital strategy needs to include far more to ensure meaningful member engagement.


Jan Kolbusz is the founder and executive director of enterprise digital advice provider Decimal Software.


Jan Kolbusz

Decimal Software Ltd (DSX)

Founder, Head of Software, Product and Engineering

M +61 (0) 407 444 461

W +61 (0) 8 6151 1509  


About Decimal

Our purpose is to make financial advice more available to all Australians via digital advice solutions.

We partner with superannuation funds and fund administrators already entrusted with customer’s funds and investments to deliver advice to the community as a whole.

To achieve this we have developed the world’s first enterprise focused digital advice platform. Our software provides fully compliant, transparent digital advice to the customers of our client organisations across numerous topics such as savings, superannuation, insurance and retirement – as well as investments.

Our market leading, out-of-the-box solution for financial institutions, Eqilize, was launched in mid-2016. Eqilize is quick to install, easy to integrate into existing environments, scalable and compliant with both ASIC and APRA standards.

Decimal is headquartered in Australia and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange under the code DSX.

View Decimal’s video on digital advice here.

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