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Consumers nominate fees & net returns most important in selecting a super fund - but fee disclosures not up to the task

  Published: 27 Sep 2017

Fees and net returns are top of mind for Australians deciding a superannuation fund, a new survey reveals.

A poll conducted by UMR research in September, asked 1000 people aged 18 and over to nominate those things that mattered most to them in selecting a superannuation fund.

Of the respondents, 74 per cent said fees were either extremely important or very important; 64 per cent said performance history; and 60 per cent said investment flexibility. These priorities remained the same even when broken down by generation – Millennials; Gen X; and Baby Boomers. Surprisingly, technology ranked second last at 35 per cent.

Industry Super Australia public affairs director, Matt Linden, said the survey sounded a warning around new disclosure rules about to be implemented that, while promising transparency, would render fees charged by investment platforms opaque.

“Australians are quite right in focusing on what they’re being charged and what their superannuation is earning,” said Linden. 

“Consumers can have confidence that differences in net returns provide a solid indication of the investment strategies and the effect of the all up costs of a super fund.

“Unfortunately with fee disclosure there is no simple and transparent way of comparing fees on various products across the entire system”.

Linden said new fee disclosure rules taking effect on 30 September, while promising improvement, contained investment vehicle exclusions that could mislead consumers.

“Australians shouldn’t have to fear that product providers are potentially gaming fee and cost requirements; or be forced to pour through multiple disclosure statements just to be sure”.

“As the financial watchdog, ASIC needs to get these fee disclosure rules right for all Australians,” he said.

Industry Super is calling on ASIC to delay its new fee disclosure rules, RG97, until the exemption on platform investments is overturned. They take effect on 30 October.

Matt Linden is available for interview. Media contact: Phil Davey 0414 867 188

Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 15 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of five million Australians.

*The above material, whilst correct at the time of publication may include references or statements which are no longer current.

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