It is vital that more people get advice when making decisions about switching their fund

In the three years to November 2015, the average amount of superannuation switched per year was over $35 billion — the result of 3.2% of superannuation products being switched annually. Of some concern however, given the dollars involved, is the fact that 31% of those switching didn’t receive any advice.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey which included interviews with more than 100,000 people with superannuation over the last three years.

Financial planners/advisors the main source of advice

Just over one quarter (26.9%) of those switching their superannuation over the last three years got advice from a financial planner/advisor, 18.2% received advice from employer and 11.8% were advised by a friend or family.

Sources of advice when switching superannuation

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Accountants were also an important source of advice (8.2%), which brings the combined use of professionals (ie planners/advisors or accountants) to 33%, after allowing for those using both. This is only just over the proportion of switchers who don’t get any advice (31%).

Those switching to an industry fund get the least advice

Of those switching to an industry fund, 37.2% didn’t get any advice, and only 15.8% got professional advice (planner/advisor or accountant). The main source of advice for this group was the employer (29.6%).

Sources of advice when switching to major superannuation types

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Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) 3 years to November 2015. n=2,002.

Professional advisors played a much bigger role for those switching to a retail fund, advising 42%; although a still very high one in four (25.1%) didn’t receive any advice. Employers were only a source of advice for 13.5%, only slightly ahead of family/friend (9.8%). For those establishing a self-managed fund, three quarters (75.9%) got professional advice but 13.4% used friends/family and one in six claim to have received no advice.

 

Professional advisors focus on high-value customers

The average superannuation balance of those seeking professional advice was $233k, compared to $109k for those who received no advice and only $96k for those that got advice from their employer.

Amount in superannuation by source of switching advice

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Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) 3 years to November 2015. n=2,002.

It is worth noting that the median value of those receiving professional advice is $104k, which shows that approximately only half of this group have a balance above $100k. This indicates that many of those not receiving any advice or just advice from their employer could benefit from professional advice, as around one quarter have balances over $100k.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Given the complex nature of superannuation, the lack of consumer engagement, poor understanding and low confidence in the system, it is vital that more people get advice when making decisions about switching their fund.

“Although advice is needed when switching superannuation, adverse publicity and the negative image of planners is potentially a barrier to more switchers choosing to use them. Issues relating to conflict of interest and professional qualifications of planners are likely to take some time to improve but the industry is taking measures to address perceptions in these areas.

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