Digital disruption is affecting every part of modern life and business, from consumers all the way to government operations and finance.

Superannuation has undergone some transformation, but now, more than ever before, digital disruption is changing the way the system is run.

SuperStream is the largest compliance program in Australia since the introduction of GST.

It will impact every business which employs and makes superannuation contributions on behalf of its employees and Superannuation Funds including Self Managed Super Funds who receive rollovers and contributions. This is a massive coordination and change package for just about every Australian business. At the heart of the program is the member or its customer…that’s you and me.

SuperStream introduces new data standards to provide a consistent, reliable electronic method of transacting linked data and payments for superannuation.

The goal is to improve the efficiency of the superannuation system, to improve the timeliness of processing of rollovers and contributions, and reduce the number of lost accounts and unclaimed monies.

There is growing information and momentum of the program as it moves from the first rollover phase (Fund to Fund) into its second phase (Employer to Super Fund) with employers requiring to make contributions to Funds using the Superannuation Data & Payment Standard.

You may have even noticed the television commercials promoting changes in the industry with comedian Dave O’Neil helping to invigorate what can be for some the boring subject of ‘superannuation’.

We are in the age of digital disruption, in which the member is increasingly informed, ‘always on’ and wants to interact with the services they require their way. The superannuation industry is dealing with increased regulatory pressure and the increasing demands for real time engagement with their members.

To deliver benefits for members, employers and funds should focus on achieving compliance in a way that provides them the greatest flexibility and opportunities to leverage the efficiency gains and additional data provided by SuperStream to develop member centric services.

Improving efficiency of the system

The introduction of new internationally recognised standards in the management of rollover and contribution processing will introduce efficiencies of up to $1 billion per annum. That’s good news for members as the reduction in administration costs can be channeled back into member investments and services.

The standard also introduces time frames to process rollovers and contributions so the disinvestment period (this is a hidden cost in the industry) is now regulated and your money will arrive more quickly into your accounts.

This means under SuperStream a member investment can earn and grow more quickly versus the current pre-SuperStream standard processing (inefficient processes lead to increased dis-investment time frames. Also, there are current clearing house practise benefits from contributions money being invested on the short term money market during processing).

SuperStream will drive significant change and competition in the payroll and clearing house landscape as low cost streamlined options become available for employers to process contributions.

Member centricity

SuperStream is a ‘member centric’ program and the Stronger Super reforms puts the members at the centre.

The regulatory disruption by the government aims to improve member beneficiaries with reduced cost and improves services. SuperStream reduces operational costs and reduces the time to allocate and invest member funds.

MySuper provides for a simple low cost default fund product for members who do not require value added services. Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) changes how funds provide and charge for financial advice in an aim to improve relevance of advise, transparency and effectiveness of this advice for members.

The Stronger Super reform presents a real opportunity to the traditional engagement models; funds need to differentiate themselves to their members.

As digital disruption continues to affect the industry, funds must continue to question themselves as to how they are approaching and helping members in the new, digital world – and how they steer clear of remaining stagnant.

 

Contributor

Joe Brasacchio

Joe Brasacchio is the project and product director at PwC’s Intunity Digital Solutions.

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