TelstraSuper chief executive Chris Davies says cementing the fund’s presence at the forefront of the digital experience will be their biggest strategic focus in 2018.

The fund introduced a new digital platform in 2017. Davies says having members who are “tech-savvy” and “early adopters of technology and innovation” inspired the digital transformation.

“We embarked on a journey to offer our members premium digital services and the team worked hard to ensure the result was forward-thinking and reflective of our value proposition,” Davies says. “We were immediately greeted by unprompted positive feedback from members that showed we had got it right. The member-centric approach throughout the development, implementation and review stages resulted in a digital presence that fit naturally with our revised branding.”

More to do

Davies emphasises that the $19 billion corporate super fund for Telstra employees will continue to refine its model to provide its 100,000 members with financial advice as and when they need it.

“Over the last year, we have – and will continue to increase our user-friendly methods of interaction across face-to-face, digital, telephony and video.”

Davies says the fund’s approach to brand and user experience needed to improve due to the evolving needs and behaviours of current and former Telstra, Foxtel and Sensis staff and their families.

In response, TelstraSuper has revamped its digital presence in a way that is optimised for small screens such as phone and tablets.

“We understood that our members were increasing their use of mobile, in particular, to transact and access our information and it was critical for us to ensure that our mobile experience would provide” information that was easy use and understand, he says. “As a result, we have completely changed how we provide information on digital mediums.”

One of the most important lessons for TelstraSuper last year came from identifying opportunities to improve the member experience while implementing regulatory change.

“Transition-to-retirement rule changes announced in the federal budget of 2016 (that came into effect in July 2017) ended up being a massive engagement opportunity for our fund,” Davies says. “We successfully implemented the changes and also came up with a strong engagement strategy that was highly successful in educating and supporting our members. We were able to get closer to a number of member cohorts and fully meet their needs.”

Looking ahead for 2018, the Productivity Commission’s findings on how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the super system loom as another potential source of major regulatory disruption.

“Potential changes to the default fund selection process being flagged by the Productivity Commission could significantly change the super landscape for everyone,” Davies says. “Regulatory change in general is a risk, as confidence in the system is already at a low, given the large amount of tinkering. As an industry, we need to focus on rebuilding the trust in super.”

TelstraSuper is a finalist for the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2018 in two categories: Member Services Fund of the Year and Large Fund of the Year (for funds with $10 billion or more in assets under management).

About the awards

The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards recognise excellence in the industry and aim to encourage super funds to raise the bar in all aspects of their operations. The focus of the awards is to honour funds that offer products and services that will ultimately lead to better retirement outcome for members.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) deputy chair Helen Rowell is a special adviser to the judging committee, which remains the only truly independent awards panel in the sector. For the 2018 awards, it has broad representation from all areas of the industry – including the retail and industry fund sectors – and consumer representation. This is complemented by the perspectives of two offshore chief investment officers.

The judging panel consists of California State Teachers’ Retirement System chief investment officer Chris Ailman, Fund Executives Association Ltd chief executive Joanna Davison, CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland, Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane, Rice Warner chief executive Michael Rice, and former minister for financial services and superannuation Bernie Ripoll.

While there are many other awards nights on the industry calendar, the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are unique in that they are not aligned to a research or ratings house, and do not charge funds to participate.

The 2018 Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are produced with thanks to platinum sponsor AIA Australia and event partner FEAL. All the winners will be announced at a special black-tie event on March 8 at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. Tickets are now available. To book, click here.

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