How will super benefit from ‘distant future’ AI?

16 April 2024
| By Jessica Penny |
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In a recent blog, George Aligianis, former chief product officer of superannuation at Iress, highlighted the “transformative” power of artificial intelligence (AI) for super funds.

Outlining how AI can enhance efficiency, improve decision making, and provide better services to members in the super sector, Aligianis said that emerging technologies will reshape the way that these businesses operate and interact with members.

“These advancements can revolutionise the landscape of super funds both during the accumulation and pension phases, with the ability to impact investing, member interactions and operational efficiency,” Aligianis said.

One such advancement relates to general AI, which refers to systems with human-like intelligence, capable of performing a wide range of tasks and adapting to various scenarios.

On the evolving realm of predictive analytics, Aligianis said AI systems can forecast future market behaviour with “impressive accuracy” after analysing historical data, economic trends, and market fluctuations.

“Super funds can leverage these insights to optimise investment portfolios, maximising returns for members,” he noted.

While “true” general AI remains a goal for the distant future, according to Aligianis, certain applications within the superannuation sector hint at its potential, like the utilisation of robo-advisers.

“These AI-driven platforms analyse members’ financial profiles, risk tolerance, and investment goals to offer customised investment strategies,” Aligianis said.

“There are many cases of failed offerings over the last decade, but with the recent advancements, the future looks more promising.”

However, Aligianis acknowledged several challenges, particularly in proving to regulators that these tools meet the same legal obligations required of human advisers, ensuring the advice is appropriate to the clients and complies with the best interests duty.

Monitoring the quality of advice delivered through AI-powered advice tools also remains front of mind as these technologies gain a more significant role in front-facing processes for super funds.

Nevertheless, Aligianis said the potential to optimise investment strategies, enhance member experiences, and secure retirement futures through AI-driven solutions remains a “promising reality”.

“As technology continues to evolve, superannuation funds will need to navigate the ethical, legal, and regulatory landscapes surrounding AI implementation,” Aligianis said.

“The integration of AI across the superannuation sector in Australia heralds a new era of innovation, efficiency, and member-centric services.”

In a LinkedIn blog post earlier this year, Paul Giles, the chief executive of superannuation at Iress, agreed that 2024 is poised to reshape how Australians strategise and navigate their retirement due to the “promising advancements” unfolding in superannuation technology.

He also forecast that superannuation technology providers will persist in navigating regulatory changes and compliance requirements while concurrently innovating to provide solutions.

“Collaborations between industry stakeholders and regulators are expected to drive responsible innovation frameworks, ensuring a balance between innovation and member-centric solutions,” Giles said.

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