Technology challenges uppermost in minds of Australian super funds

Suzanne Holden

Suzanne Holden

Australian super funds plan to substantially increase their spend on technology in 2016 as funds grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid technological change, according to Australia’s leading technology-enabled outsourced superannuation administrator Link Group.

A survey of major super fund CEOs recently conducted by Link Group shows that 92% of funds expect to spend more on technology in 2016 compared to 2015 – with 62% of respondents looking to spend an additional 20% or more next year. Responses were drawn from funds representing more than 3.5 million Australians and over $97 billion in super assets.

Enhanced member application processes and other digital innovations were nominated as the key focus for the increased spend (69% of respondents) as funds compete to present the most comprehensive and user-friendly offer to members.

Mobile innovations were predicted to be the key disruptor in 2016 (33% of respondents), followed by data personalisation (25%), aggregators of wealth management (25%) and online digital or robo advice (17%).

The majority of fund CEOs said keeping up with technological change – in terms of being able to deliver a competitive overall offering to members – was a top three element to get right (62%), with 38% saying it was just one of many elements to get right.

Recently listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Link Group administers financial ownership data and drives user engagement through technology. The group provides technology solutions and member administration services to many of Australia’s largest superannuation funds.

Speaking at the annual Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference in Brisbane today*, CEO of Link Group Fund Administration, Suzanne Holden, said technology decisions continued to be front and centre for fund CEOs.

“Using technology to transform a business is easier said than done. Internal change management is as much driven by innovation internally as it is by customer innovation,” Ms Holden said.

“Technology – both in terms of internal and customer facing – and its role in change management is clearly front of mind for most CEOs. Businesses are often facing tough competition and cost pressures. This can require an ongoing investment in technology to deliver results.

“At Link, we have a clear focus on internal improvements – reducing our reliance on paper, in addition to investing in technology and systems that deliver results for our clients”.

Link Group mobile app makes super more accessible

Link Group recently launched a mobile app that enables members to conveniently manage all aspects of their superannuation account, in real-time, on their mobile phone.

Available for both iOS and Android, the app provides superannuation funds with a mobile channel to help drive member engagement and keep funds on the front foot of technological change.

With full, real-time transactional capability, the app allows fund members to choose how they interact with their superannuation account. Live mobile access encourages more frequent and timely interaction by the member, making the members’ superannuation more relevant to their daily life.

Ms Holden said in today’s mobile-dependent world, members increasingly expect instant access to all of their financial information.

“Tapping in to the smart phone as a medium for member engagement is a way we can make super funds more relevant to members, and fund executives recognise this.

“Technology is vital for business transformation and innovation, and we expect emerging technology, particularly mobile access for members, will become even more of a focus in the coming year,” Ms Holden added.

*ASFA Conference Plenary session Thursday 26 November 10.40am-12.10am — Change leadership: the role of technology for business transformation and innovation.

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