In an environment where the mantra of members first is gaining greater and greater momentum Tim Richardson thinks it’s time for real change in superannuation servicing.
As the newly-appointed head of OneVue’s Superannuation Services Richardson joins the company from ESSSuper and believes the lack of agility and transparency in member data is preventing many funds from directly engaging with members in real time with meaningful information.
Part of this, he says, is because “there's a limited choice of available of third-party providers to deliver administration services. The largest outsourced administration providers currently control more than 60% of the market.”
The smaller funds in the market are being left behind as the larger superannuation providers continue responding to the demands of the large funds. They may be smaller in number of members but these smaller fund members expect, and deserve, to get the same services, in some cases more personalized services than if they were a member in a large fund. Yet the funds themselves have less purchasing power, even if they’re looking to develop innovative member engagement solutions.
“If you're a smaller fund,” he says, “you basically get what's out of the box. It's a good service, but you don't get the ability to access your own data in a format with the level of timeliness you might need. One of the reasons I joined OneVue is the focus on real-time membership data, and open architecture. We don’t want any superannuation fund member to feel like they are not important”
So what’s so special about providing open access to data? Well, consider how member data is typically delivered – often the next day at the earliest. What happens if a member wants to access details about their account, say, on a weekend, through an app?
For most organisations it is seen as too difficult to deliver. As Richardson notes, it creates difficulty in accessing all member channels, “thus limiting funds with the ability to tailor their offers and communication using predictive analytics.”
This issue, he adds, can result in higher prices for members “given the limited flexibility with adapting existing administration models, particularly given that they have been built around a technology ecosystem that has components that are over 15 years old.”
The other issue is limited differentiation. If administration models remain stagnant, “there will be limited differentiation within the superannuation marketplace between funds, thus driving less choice for members. Why innovate if there is no competitive tension on variety and choice?”
Ultimately, he says members want access to their data, to manage and control content through whatever channel they choose to use whenever they choose to access it. The ability to innovate in this regard is directly related to the agility of the administration back-end and how the data is integrated and made available.
Since the only levers funds have to reduce (or prevent) attrition are member engagement and cost, increasing transparency of data for the trustee and member lifecycle is a pivotal step forward. And I intend to continue moving the OneVue Superannuation Service forward so that members regain control over their financial information, as turning data into meaningful information that can be accessed in real time can make a big difference in the outcomes to members and Trustees alike.
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