The fact that women retire with superannuation balances 46.6 per cent lower than men is a major failing of our retirement income system and one that will lead to Australian women being poor in the future. This is a key topic at the Women, Super and Wealth Summit being organised by the SMSF Association and the Financial Services Council (FSC). The Summit, being held in Sydney on April 27, will bring together experts across the superannuation and wealth-management industries to address this and other important issues affecting all women.

The one-day Summit will be much more than a talk-fest. The experts chosen have a wide range of experiences across superannuation and wealth management, and will bring practical solutions to many issues. It will make for a compelling event and one you should not miss.

Strategies making a difference

Take, for example, the final session, “Pathways to wealth and secure retirement”. It will engage thought leaders involved with innovative strategies in wealth management, superannuation and workplace practices that are helping women build wealth and increase their super balances.

The session has a panel of four: Craig Banning, chief executive of, Navwealth Group; Nikki Bentley, partner, Henry Davis York; Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman; and the shadow minister for revenue and financial services, Senator Katy Gallagher. Diane Smith-Gander, a non-executive director, will be facilitator.

This expert panel will discuss several key themes, including examples of positive steps employers are taking in the workplace, what superannuation funds are doing to better engage women, emerging trends that lead to better retirement outcomes for women, and existing and future strategies that can maximise opportunities for women under the current legislation.

They will also look at how the changing nature of work and the small business environment pose other challenges, which is particularly topical considering there are 3.3 million small and medium-sized enterprises in Australia and the fact an increasing number of women are starting their own businesses.

On the next generation

Another session certain to attract interest will cover the topic “Engaging with women – what we need to teach our daughters”, where a panel will focus on three key areas that can help improve women’s retirement and wealth outcomes:

  • Enhanced financial literacy and confidence in financial decision-making
  • The need for tailored financial advice and how it can meet women’s needs
  • How we raise women and approach cultural barriers to stimulate control and confidence in women.

This panel consists of: Craig Dunn, a non-executive director at Telstra; Justine Lind, Head K-6 at Oxley College; Sally Loane, chief executive of the Financial Services Council; and Sam Mostyn, deputy chair of the Diversity Council of Australia. Linda Elkins, executive general manager, Colonial First State, will facilitate. What should attract particular interest is the discussion around the role financial literacy can play in improving the gender gap in super, and the family’s involvement in this process, including what lessons to teach.

The other two panel sessions will be “What are the causes of the gender gap in superannuation?”, with a focus on volatile income streams and the effect of broken work patterns, and “Solutions for real reform”, on what needs to change in superannuation legislation and other laws to make a real difference for women.

Address from a champion

Right after lunch, “champion of change” and chief executive of Emergent, Holly Ransom, will have the floor to give her unique take on how millennials can build their personal wealth. Ransom is known for generating innovative solutions to complex multi-stakeholder problems for corporations, governments and non-profit organisations, so her view on what’s happening, finance-wise, in the world of the millennials should be fascinating.

It adds up to an exciting program – real issues and practical solutions on a matter of national importance. I look forward to seeing you on April 27.

Andrea Slattery is chief executive of the SMSF Association.To view the full program or to register for the Women, Super and Wealth Summit, jointly presented by the SMSF Association, Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank, visit the event website.

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