Super fund AI to change advice game

Super fund systems will be able to proactively pick up on when members need advice

21-Apr-2017

By Sarah Kendell

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Superannuation funds would soon be able to proactively offer free advice to members who need it through artificial intelligence, an initiative that would “change the game” in Australia’s digital advice landscape, according to Decimal.

Speaking to financialobserver, Decimal founder and executive director Jan Kolbusz said the ability for super funds to provide personal advice to members who had not requested such a service themselves would be “one of the biggest transformations” in the digital advice industry over the next few years, and was already being openly canvassed by several large funds.

“Right now you can get end-to-end advice through your super and that is now proven and successful, but you still have to log in to your account and click the button before you can implement it,” Kolbusz said.

“Where the real transformation will happen is, as a member, you won’t need to be told that opportunity is available to you – you will just start receiving notifications about what personal advice you should be acting on to improve your situation.”

Kolbusz said while digital advice through super had previously been a “pull situation”, funds were actively considering how to make the process seamless for members in order to improve engagement off the back of a potential shake-up of competition in the industry if the recommendations of the recent draft Productivity Commission report were taken on board.

“As long as it is absolutely end to end, with all the compliance built in, that means the super fund won’t need to worry about segmentation. Even if someone with the lowest super balance takes advantage of that offer it won’t incur additional costs for the fund,” he explained.

“Part of the challenge for super funds up to now was that face-to-face or phone advice was not very scalable because it’s not cost effective to have every one of your members ring up, but what we have now is the opportunity for them to engage in a way that’s convenient and compliant.”

Kolbusz added that in a more competitive environment, super funds would need additional services to distinguish themselves from competitors rather than the current fee-based narrative.

“The industry is getting commodified and more cost-effective, so rather than the traditional criteria for picking a super fund which is past performance and fees, if you haven’t got great services you are not going to be in business,” he said.

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