L-R: Lachlan Baird (Prime Super) and Debby Blakey (HESTA)

The services offered by super funds in the decades they spend helping members accumulate savings in preparation for retirement are becoming increasingly sophisticated, thanks to the use of technology.

Behind the scenes, funds are rolling out a range of education options, personalised advice, and retirement readiness programs for members so that they can wind down into retirement with the confidence they’ll have the funds they need to make their nest eggs last the distance.

Members build retirement wealth over multiple decades, but often don’t understand how to use those savings to maintain their lifestyle and have a dignified retirement, says Andrew Wallace, personal super and member experience leader for Mercer Super.

“They should be able to look to their super fund to give them confidence and peace of mind. It’s critical that we proactively help our members to properly manage their super savings as they move into the next phase of their life,” Wallace says.


Just how super funds help members switch over to the retirement phase varies. But it is becoming increasingly tech-driven in a bid to give members a variety of ways to understand how to make the most of the retirement phase of life.


Prime Super identifies cohorts of members moving towards retirement and sends them tailored communications. It may also communicate directly with individual members in a bid to help them navigate this stage.

The fund looks for ways to improve the member experience and the processes it builds around that to make it simple for members to make changes to their investment choices.

Prime has improved its online processes as part of a recent launch of a new member portal and app upgrade, encompassing multi-factor authentication for greater security. The fund has also enhanced the usability of online platforms to make transacting online easier and more intuitive.

Members can also apply for an income stream online and, as they drawn an income from their super, their balance can remain invested in an investment option of their choosing, or in the default option.

“Our communications are personalised and often include an educational focus and access to useful resources to help members understand their options as they near retirement, and at retirement,” CEO Lachlan Baird says.

In response, members often choose to speak with Prime in person or arrange a time to meet and explore their options.

“One thing we make sure of is that we don’t leave our members on hold when they call us,” Baird says. “Last financial year, we answered 83 per cent of all calls from members and employers within 30 seconds.”

UniSuper says its board this year approved an education and advice strategy. The fund also has consultants to help members through financial literacy, production education and personal advice triage.

“UniSuper has a national team of over 150 advice professionals today, and we’re growing,” says Andrew Gregory, head of financial advice and education.

Personalisation is the key

AustralianSuper has implemented an always-on trigger-based program focussed on key member milestones and birthdays when key decisions regarding retirement and planning are required.

“In addition, we have a letter to transition to retirement members that is triggered at 64 and nine months that informs them that their account will convert to Choice Income on their 65th birthday, and what the implications are,” a spokesperson for the fund says.

“We also run a wide range of other activities including quarterly fund updates, a retirement readiness program and early retirement program, and a super snapshots program, which all run alongside our regular member education activities that include webinars, on-demand video and seminars.”

Hesta has been quietly investing in data and analytics capabilities to better understand what its members need as they move into retirement.

Hesta launched an online tool in late 2021 to support members to consider their broader lifestyle goals that helps them set long-term financial goals. It is utilised by more than 170,000 members.

The fund has also developed a tool that creates a personalised list of suggested actions for every member, aimed at maximising their retirement readiness. It is also set to extend the support it provides to specifically help members enter the retirement phase.

The digital help and education approach with expanded features helps improve the accessibility of financial advice. It blends digital advice and leverages cutting-edge data to provide a more personalised experience,” Hesta CEO Debby Blakey says.

“Our advice service also helps members build confidence about their super and improve their financial futures. We focus on ensuring they get the help their need the first time through self-service online, member help and chatbot, super education and advice in members’ workplaces, information sessions and specialised personal support delivered by Hesta advisers.”

Blakey says the fund “continues to look at ways to enhance the support we provide members as they approach and enter retirement”.

“This long-term strategy will require us to continue to adapt and innovate the services and products we provide to meet the changing needs and evolving engagement behaviours of our members,” she says.

What the future holds in this space isn’t yet known. But what’s likely is that the switch to retirement phase will be met by a number of increasingly sophisticated tools to help members engage and make the most of their super.

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