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Higher data disclosure should be seen as an opportunity for funds to compete, rather than a burden, according to software firm DST Global Solutions.

The firm has been assisting super funds with Strong Super data compliance over the past year, but is now increasingly helping create online access for daily updates on member’s account balances.

Julian Webb, global head of data management and analytics at DST Global Solutions, said some funds had been given new budgets to improve members’ consumer experience, particularly through apps for use on mobile phones.

In February AMP launched what it claims to be the first app in Australia where customers can access the banking, superannuation, insurance and investment funds and direct shares.

The drive to create such products is coming both from consumer expectations by sectors outside of financial services and from the opportunity presented by the availability of investment data as stipulated by recent regulation.

Webb warned the superannuation industry needed to start seeing higher data standards as an opportunity rather than as a burden. “The forward thinking firms are using it to design products to better tailor their investments for members,” he said. “They are looking to differentiate and compete through ease of data access.”

His points were echoed by Pauline Vamos, chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, who said data standards had not been traditionally high among funds, partly as until recently there had not been a legal obligation to have correct data.

Vamos thought the push to better consumer experiences for members had only just begun.

“This industry sometimes thinks we are going to make all these changes and that is it,” she said. “The bottom line is we are becoming absolutely driven by IT, as the core of what we deliver and how we deliver.”

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