Super Member Engagement Report – Members are paying close attention to super fund merger activity

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Key points

  • 27% of members see merging with a larger fund as a positive outcome compared to 11% who see it as a negative. The majority are indifferent
  • The few who hold a negative sentiment towards mergers are most concerned about potential negative impacts on fees and returns
  • Some (18%) oppose re-branding post merger, citing the strength of the existing brand and resource wastage

Leading research firm Investment Trends has released its latest Super Member Engagement Report, an in-depth look at the attitudes and views of Australian super fund members.

Amidst the recent wave of mergers and consolidation within the superannuation industry, Investment Trends research reveals that Australian super fund members tend to view these industry wide changes in a positive manner.

If their super fund opted to merge with a larger fund, 27% of members consider this outcome to be positive, compared to 11% who view this as negative. This positive sentiment holds even if their super fund opted to merge with a smaller fund (21% positive vs 11% negative).

“There is a general view that engagement between Australians and their super fund is underwhelming, but our research shows that super fund members are very much engaged with current events, having strong opinions about their super fund’s strategic decisions,” said Bailey Hao, Senior Analyst at Investment Trends.

While members generally view mergers in a positive light, some remain wary. For the 11% of members who hold a negative sentiment about mergers, they most often cite concerns relating to potential negative impacts on fees and returns. Many are also worried about changes to customer service levels and how they interact with their super fund.

“Super funds that are in the process of merging, or thinking about doing so, will do well if they alleviate their members’ top concerns of potential increased fees and underperformance. But our research also highlights that branding plays a key role,” said Hao.

While most members (78%) are indifferent if their super fund were to change its name or logo post-merger, a large cohort (18%) oppose these potential changes.

“Those who oppose a brand change most often believe the existing brand already represents their member base well and see a refresh as a waste of resources. To limit member attrition, super funds must ensure some semblance of their current identity and values is retained before rebranding to appeal to a wider member base” explained Hao.

About the report

The Investment Trends 2021 Super Member Engagement Report provides a detailed analysis of the Australian superannuation industry, examining the sentiment, attitudes and needs of superannuation fund members.

Based on a survey of 9,179 respondents conducted from March to May 2021, the Report is the largest and most comprehensive independent study of Australian super fund members

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