AustralianSuper is seeing increasing member enquiries on how their super is invested, as funds generally report greater member engagement.
Hilary Spear, head of corporate affairs, AustralianSuper revealed the heightened interest in environmental, social and corporate governance at the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees’ Employer Engagement Symposium, held in Melbourne last week.
She said: “Shareholder activism is going to be much more of an issue for funds going forward. People are becoming more interested in investments and we are going to get more detailed more personalised questions on why we are holding stocks in tobacco, armaments and logging.”
Other funds speaking at the symposium were also seeing a rise in member enquiries, often as the average size of balances grew.
Danielle Press, chief executive of Equip, reported growing levels of awareness and understanding about superannuation and subsequent increases in engagement. Some of this has come in the form of member activism, as previously reported by Investment Magazine, but she said the engagmenet was making the fund think more boldly about approaching members at a younger age around retirement planning.
A similar message came from Peter Theodorakopolous, general manager and client services at CareSuper, who spoke of his fund building up an “educated and well-informed audience”.
He saw that enquiry levels were increasingly linked to members wanting to have more personalised outcomes. Again, like Equip he foresaw that this would mean the fund would engage with members at a younger age, forseeing contribution strategy advice aimed at those in their late 30s starting in a few years’ time.
Cbus is this October hosting its first ever members’ conference, where senior members of the executive team will field questions about investments and retirement advice.