Research shows super members still confused by fees – where do you stand?

Research shows super members still confused by fees – where do you stand?

The 2014 Superannuation Sentiment Index (SSI) was recently released, which provides a ‘barometer of how confident and engaged Australians are with their superannuation’. Given the double digit returns in the last year, the index improved by positive perceptions of performance, trust and confidence in the system.

However, one of the areas which did not improve was the perception of fees. Only half of those surveyed (49%) are aware of the fees that they are paying, with only 15% being definitely aware. Additionally, despite the higher returns, dissatisfaction with current fund providers has seemingly increased, with 27% saying they would be likely to change their fund provider in the future (up from 19% last year). The top reason given by the sample group in the study for changing their super provider was fees, followed by performance.

You might also be interested in reading What SMSF trustees need to know about the new ATO penalties.

Not only was there increased dissatisfaction in regards to the level of fees, there was also a prevalent desire to control the fees. It was found that respondents were not necessarily concerned about the level of fees, but more about the transparency and accountability for what they were for. Clarity around fees was considered very important.

The issue of transparency in fees affects all members of a fund, whether in an industry-based fund, a retail super fund or an SMSF. I personally feel that fees are an important part of a member’s experience (which is why when we first introduced an SMSF administration service at Rivkin the transparency of the fees was high on my priority list), and so I wanted to open a discussion to find out what the industry at large can do to increase transparency around fees.

Whether you are a member of an industry or retail super fund, a SMSF, or other, I'd love to know if you're aware of the fees you're paying, and what you think providers in the industry, from large funds to administrators like Rivkin, can do to improve engagement and transparency of feed. Let me know in the comments below.

For those that are interested in all the findings of the survey, the full report can be found here.

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