How are Australia’s largest super funds faring with complaints?

13 June 2024
| By Jessica Penny |
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) latest Datacube has revealed superannuation funds were among the top five financial firms to receive complaints, notching 3,539 complaints for the six months to 31 December 2023.

This was the fourth-highest out of financial firm type, with banks recording the most complaints over the period (20,471), followed by general insurers (10,474) and credit providers (5,470).

The country’s largest fund AustralianSuper led the charge with 936 complaints, with 462 being resolved at registration and referral. As such, the fund recorded a resolution rate of 49.36 per cent.

This almost tripled those received by United Super, trustee of Cbus Super, which recorded 320. With 197 of these being resolved at registration and referral, United Super had a 61.56 per cent referral resolution rate in 2H23.

Meanwhile, Australian Retirement Trust (ART), Mercer Superannuation, and Aware Super, respectively, held third to fifth place, with complaints for the three funds all falling within the 220–270 range.

The country’s fourth-largest super fund Hostplus received 181 complaints, with a referral resolution rate of 60.11 per cent.

Among the top six super funds with the highest number of complaints received, AFCA categorised three as “very large” funds, two as “large”, and one as “medium” sized.

Compensation paid over the period totalled $13.2 million.

Super complaints at a glance

Looking at superannuation funds by product group, account administration accounted for over half (58.1 per cent) of all complaints over 2H23.

This was followed by group life insurance at 28.5 per cent, death benefits distribution at 12.5 per cent, and pensions at 0.8 per cent.

Death benefits in superannuation have been a key area of focus for the corporate regulator, which shared some ‘disappointing’ findings in May upon reviewing the public communications of more than 20 trustees with regards to death benefits.

Earlier this year, AFCA chief operating officer Justin Untersteiner, too, flagged that super and insurance in super were among the top complaints it was receiving, as it recorded more than 100,000 complaints in 2023 for the first time.

Untersteiner said: “Super and insurance make up the complaints regarding delays in claims handling, there has been an enormous increase in complaints against super trustees and top of that was complaints about delays in claim handling.

“We are encouraging trustees to review this as lengthy delays aren’t fair on consumers.”

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