Online advice and applications underpin QSuper’s financial planning push

Glenn Freeman


August 14, 2015

As industry super funds increasingly expand their financial planning offerings, not-for-profit fund QSuper’s rollout of online and app-driven advice tools are attracting as many as 210 members per day.

The Queensland-based fund caters primarily to the state’s public sector employees, has around 540,000 members and $59 billion in funds under management.

Its approach has started with a transaction-based application called MoneyMap, which is based on the technology platform Yodlee and has drawn between 100 and 150 members per day.

Jodie Fielding, head of change and advice experience, QSuper, described it as a central hub linking transaction data across credit cars, share portfolios, home loans and other bank accounts.

“A type of personal profit and loss to track performance…enabling members to see where their money is going, where they are spending it.

It also tags and categorises transactions, such as whether a Coles supermarket has been visited for the purchase of groceries, or a Coles Express for buying fuel. According to Fielding, this has 95 per cent accuracy in tagging transactions, “helping members to realise what’s happening in outflows.”

“Many of our members have variable incomes, with many nurses or shift workers, so managing the quarterly rates bills or insurance bills can be a challenge,” Fielding said. Another functionality tracks larger repeat transactions, providing reminders before they fall due, so members can actively manage their savings and goals.

Taxation considerations are also part of the functionality. MoneyMap enables members to flag any tax items and export them into a separate file, which can then be forwarded to an accountant or tax agent at the end of each financial year.

Online advice

QSuper has also embraced online advice delivery for its members.

“This is a huge opportunity for people that are unengaged and aren’t sure about advice.

“Many members we spoke to had reservations about seeing a financial adviser. Many thought it was too expensive, didn’t trust it or weren’t sure about it,” Fielding said.

She emphasised the round-the-clock access online advice gives members to basic intra-fund advice, and with no additional charges beyond their existing superannuation administration costs.

“At the moment, we are live with personal advice around investment options [inside super], and earlier this week we went live with a capability to make contributions.

She expects QSuper will have remaining topics available for members to use by the end of 2015.

Simplified SoA

“One of the key things we’ve done is make it really easy for members to receive advice. We spend a lot of time on research to understand how to make advice accessible for members,” Fielding says.

Once member have completed a few simple questions, an online dashboard is created. This then allow for the creation of a personal Statement of Advice.

In-built eligibility rules are also applied, which automatically exclude members whose individual circumstances are too complex for intrafund advice. For example, members with direct shares in their super investment portfolio are unable to view the dashboard.

“We’ve also spent a lot of time simplifying the SoA, to make sure there is true understanding of the information they’re receiving.

Since rolling out online advice at the start of 2015, around $500 million in funds under management have passed through the online platform.

“Today, we have on average between 60 to 70 members registering for online advice, which is a bit lower than MoneyMap, but it isn’t even being marketed yet, it is just being found organically on our website,” Fielding said.

In addition to creating online functions that are easy to use, by leveraging focus group testing for aspects such as on-screen design and layout, QSuper has emphasised the behavioural shift required by members.

“We can provide a huge amount of tools to our members, but if we’re not nudging and encouraging them to make a behavioural change, you’ll see no real result,” she said.

TOPICS:   Coles,  online advice,  QSuper,  superannuation

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