Australians wary of super funds making a profit

Superannuation, super fund, fund, retirement savings, Eva Scheerlinck, AIST, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees

A survey has found that a majority of Australians dislike the idea of superannuation funds turning a profit.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of industry fund lobby group the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), found that 91 per cent of respondents think default funds should be not-for-profit.

The Essential Media poll was based on 1,014 respondents gathered from Your Source’s online consumer panel of 100,000 members.

Seventy-one per cent of those surveyed objected to employers being able to use a default fund that is associated with their bank.

AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck said superannuation members interests should come ahead of incentives – such as “access to overdrafts of loans at cheaper rates” – offered by banks.

The poll also revealed a lack of knowledge about default funds and their place within enterprise agreements.

When it comes to trust and reputation, profit-to-member funds are miles ahead, but issues such as poor financial literacy and lack of confidence remain a challenge, Ms Scheerlinck said.

One in four people surveyed don’t know if they are in a default fund or not.

Women are less likely to choose their own fund than men, but women are more likely to take their old fund across to a new employer when they change jobs, the study found.

Changes to how default super funds are selected have the power to impact millions of super fund members, particularly women who are less likely to choose their fund, Ms Scheerlinck said.

We need to make sure that our default fund selection process is going to work for members, not just make money for shareholders somewhere.

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