AustralianSuper is the best super fund for member engagement services, while funds across the board fight to improve assistance to members both with technology and around insurance, according to the Investment Trends 2017 Member Engagement Report.
The report, which was released today and surveyed 44 of Australia’s largest super funds, found that funds were still learning to manage their digital member-facing channels.
“This year, we observe many funds struggling with the reliability, consistency and quality issues in the real-time digital-based channels used to support and interact with their members,” Investment Trends technology analyst, Ian Webster said.
“However, super funds are gradually mastering the challenge of managing these channels more effectively, building upon basic content publishing towards digital channels that provide easy access to services and promote two-way engagement with members.”
Webster said that recent website developments from HESTA, Sunsuper and AustralianSuper were “shining examples” of industry funds adopting a “member first” approach with technology.
The report also found that insurance remained a key struggle for funds who were still struggling to adjust following the introduction of opt-out insurance in the MySuper reforms and media coverage highlighting the conflict between best outcomes for members as a collective versus as individuals.
“Super funds have enthusiastically promoted insurance to their members, but the lack of urgency among many funds to commit to the Voluntary Code of Practice is beginning to affect their social licence,” Webster said.
“Among the 44 largest super funds surveyed, roughly half have yet to provide explicit guidance and support for member insurance claims, while a quarter do not provide explicit information about member insurance claims on their website.”
It is worth noting that the report’s research was completed prior to the announcements regarding non-compulsory insurance inside superannuation in this May’s Federal Budget.
Finally, Investment Trends said that a strong values-based proposition was driving fast-growing newer super funds’ growth in both members and funds under advice. This had “little in common” with the approach taken by their more established counterparts.
“Australians now have a greater choice of funds that align with their values and lifestyle,” Webster said.
“While these funds do not tend to provide as wide an array of member services as those offered by the more established funds, they differentiate through the effective use of digital communication channels, growth hacking and SuperMATCH 2 to grow at pace.”
The report pointed to Australian Ethical Super, Crescent Wealth, Essential Super, Grow Super, Netwealth Personal Super and Spaceship as examples of funds pushing value propositions.
The survey found that the top five funds for all-round member engagement services were AustralianSuper, Sunsuper, HESTA, QSuper and HOSTPLUS. Rest Super was the most improved over the last year.