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Tide could be turning on super gender gap

Gender

The female clients of a superannuation software platform have bucked a national trend by recording higher superannuation balances than their male counterparts.

While the Association of Superannuation Funds Australia reports that Australian women retire with an average $138,150 in super and men with $292,500, financial services software provider Decimal has found that in some cases, women have more.

According to its latest report, Decimal’s female clients had an average balance of $214,320, pipping men at the post $214,286).

That’s based on a sample of 2,315 clients.

Acknowledging that the $34 difference was minimal, Decimal CEO Nic Pollock argued that it represented the power of digital financial advice to remove the superannuation gender gap.

He said: “Digital advice is certainly proving to be a great equaliser when it comes to financial advice.”

“In the 12 months since Decimal started collecting and analysing data for our Digital Insights reports, we’ve seen steady and rapid growth both in the overall number of women using digital advice and in their level of assets under advice.”

Decimal partners with super funds, administrators and banks to provide digital advice to customers.

Non-executive director Pauline Vamos said the value of digital advice was the ease of access, something that was especially useful for “busy women”.

She continued: “Digital advice allows them to access their super at any time on any device and we are seeing 35 per cent of overall users logging into the Decimal system outside normal business hours.”

In the quarter to the end of September 2017, Decimal recorded a 20 per cent growth in women’s activity and a 9 per cent growth in men’s activity. In the year to September, funds under advice grew by 53 per cent to $9 billion and women constituted 47 per cent of all users.

In terms of the advice sought, users were most interested in knowing more about their investment choices, followed by information about super contributions, insurance needs and insurance cover.

The Australian superannuation system has recently come under fire for being “skewed” towards men.

According to a recently released study into the superannuation gap, Australian women face “substantial financial difficulties”, despite “significant gains” in career and education opportunities.

Justine Irving, researcher with the University of South Australia, which led the three-year government-funded study, told Nest Egg that there’s “still complacency” and even resistance to changing the current system.

The study, which was conducted in partnership with the Australian National University, RMIT, Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Women in Super found that the caregiving responsibility which predominantly falls to women can place them at a disadvantage.

The research also found that the existing system is “designed around men” and assumes an average 40 years spent in continuous full-time employment.

Ms Irving argued: “I think in terms of parental leave, whether it's male or female, I think that there's an issue with the way that… [caregivers] don't receive superannuation during that time.

“Addressing parental leave, [by] having parental leave included in the superannuation system, would make a big difference immediately because the largest proportion that that would affect would be women.”

Tide could be turning on super gender gap
Gender
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