Superannuation funds need digital tools to engage and support members

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | By Shaun McKenna, Senior Director

Superannuation funds need digital tools to engage and support members

Are Australian superannuation fund providers doing enough to communicate with their members and support their financial wellness? SS&C’s recent Superannuation Stealth Survey measured members’ perceptions of their fund’s digital tools and communication methods. The results revealed several areas of opportunity for Australian superannuation funds to engage members through more effective content, gaining a competitive advantage in retention through members’ education and financial wellness.

In addition to deep insights into which channels fund members prefer for their interactions, the survey also highlights the importance of tailoring the content and frequency of those interactions. Many respondents reported limited contact with their superannuation provider. While 25% of respondents said they have a quarterly connection with their provider, a surprising 27% said they have contact with their provider only once a year. Alarmingly, 4% of respondents said they have “never” heard from their fund provider.

These results indicate the missed opportunities for meaningful messaging and member engagement that many funds overlook when they only communicate through the normal annual statement cycle. Survey questions pertaining to communication content (or lack thereof) provide further context to the findings.

Age plays a significant role in how well-informed a fund member tends to be. For example, younger fund members tend to be less aware of the retirement planning tools available on their super fund website. A fund member’s awareness of those tools does not necessarily translate into them realizing the full benefit, as indicated by the 80% of respondents who reported that they have never accessed their fund’s planning tools. Again, age plays a role in who accesses the tools. While 59% overall said they were unaware of how these tools will assist them, the 18-30 age group reported that lack of awareness at 73%, with an equally concerning 71% among the 31 to 55 age segment. Older members were more aware of the planning tool benefits, but only slightly, with 44% of respondents age 56 to 70 and 50% age 70 or older reporting they were unaware of those benefits.

Of the respondents who are aware of the tools, 74% reported using retirement calculators, making it the most commonly accessed planning tool.

Funds can motivate members to take steps to optimize their retirement outcomes by encouraging them to take ownership of their retirement planning and take advantage of the tools available to help them. Funds can do this by leveraging personalized content, gamification techniques and recommended next steps to educate members about the value of budgeting and saving for retirement.  With an enhanced understanding, members will be more likely to use their providers’ calculators and digital advice tools to track their progress and correct course if necessary.

To learn more about the results of the survey, and how fund providers can improve retention through better engagement and technology, download our whitepaper, Driving member engagement and loyalty with digital communications.

APAC, Asset Management, Retirement, Wealth Management

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