HostPlus is the latest major institution to enhance its digital advice offering, partnering with Iress and Industry Fund Services to utilise the advice tech provider’s digital advice product.
Over 12 million Australians have unmet advice needs according to Iress and the new tool will go some way to provide scalable and accessible advice Hostplus’ members.
Iress chief executive of superannuation Paul Giles tells Investment Magazine the partnership aims to deliver on the intention of the Quality of Advice Review to expand the accessibility of financial advice.
“Super funds have invested in a lot of mobile apps to increase engagement and education of their members – this will deliver scalable, accessible and affordable advice to HostPlus’s members,” Giles says.
The service is free for the super fund’s members as “HostPlus has invested in platform for the benefit of members and ultimately improve retirement outcomes,” he adds.
Called SuperSmart, the tool combines Iress’ digital advice capability with member education to provide Hostplus members with personalised simple advice.
Last August, retail super fund provider Insignia Financial enlisted the services of Israeli-based advice tech provider Personetics in its own digital advice play.
The partnership has also deepened IFS’s relationship with the super fund, beyond licensing retirement planners. The expanded relationship includes upskilling HostPlus’s client service teams according to IFS executive manager of advice solutions Adrian Gervasoni.
“In the context of super funds for digital advice to be successful, you need to focus on influencing decisions,” he says. “HostPlus should be congratulated for having the risk appetite to rebuild its advice model.”
In a media release on Thursday, Hostplus group executive for member experience Paul Watson said the super fund views advice as critical to help members retire with confidence.
“We’re passionate about ensuring that when our members are ready for advice, they’re aware that we can provide to them on their terms – whether that be digital, in person or over the phone,” Watson said.
Iress plans to roll out the product across the industry and is speaking to other super funds.*
While the software – which has been available through advice tech service Xplan – has been designed for the needs of HostPlus members, the base technology can be re-configured for the different needs of individual funds.
“As a technology company, we are looking to scale the product and take it to market to other super funds,” he says.
* This paragraph was edited on 28 April 2023. It originally read: “Iress and IFS have plans to roll out the product across the industry and are speaking to other super funds.”