Only around 16 per cent of Australians are actively involved in the management of their super, and more than one in five can’t even name a super fund of which they’re a member, according to national research commissioned by GESB, the WA public sector fund.

GESB’s research found that only 4 per cent of those surveyed had chosen an investment plan or consulted a financial adviser to assist them in their super management and retirement planning.

Nearly half of those surveyed indicated that they didn’t know their account balance was and around one in five (21 per cent) did not know who their super provider was.

GESB’s general manager of wealth management, Fabian Ross, said the lack of engagement was particularly concerning given the increasing retirement income needs of an ageing population.

“Super is one the largest assets most Australians will own in their lives, second only to their home,” Mr Ross said.

“Even small adjustments to investment plans or fee structures can have a significant effect on the final retirement savings of Australians, often in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“With the expectation of longer retirements, Australians can no longer afford to neglect or forget about their super.”

Ross said the research also indicated that both government and super funds have a increasing role to play in fostering greater engagement by members.

“Around half of the people surveyed suggested that additional information from government – both in terms of the pension they are likely to receive and the factors affecting their super – would encourage more active management of their savings,” Mr Ross said.

“That was supported by another one in four (25 per cent) of respondents who said easier access to comparisons of fees, performances, products and services would assist them to be more involved.”

“We remain supportive of any initiatives to help Australians be more involved in their super, and hope to see this treated as a key priority in the final Cooper report later this year,” Ross said.

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