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Super Specialists – Who needs them?

Traditional Market Domination

It seems to be coming clear to many medium to large sized employers that the employer super market has been historically dominated by large organisations who, based upon the outcomes from the 2018 Royal Commission, did not necessarily always operate in their client’s best interest. 

With so much since paid out by banks and platforms in remediation costs, you might expect to see clear direction in place for improvement, but that hasn’t really been the case. 

The Employer Perspective

Super is an employer funded employee entitlement, so it’s reasonable to expect that companies would be clear in how much employees (and effectively the employer) are paying their service providers through contributions, but providers aren’t always happy to provide this information. 

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I know of one instance where a major employer wanted to know just how many dollars actually showed as revenue in their service provider’s P & L. The particular service provider was actually annoyed about the question and refused to provide an answer. 

There are many employers who are quite happy with the “service” being provided, but so few employers actually see the quality of service from an employee’s point of view and very few employers have a way to examine the value being presented by their current arrangement.

There is definitely a need for change and improvement in employer super as it is clear that no employer knows how to manage super as a remuneration benefit.


There now exists an analysis of the different service models within employer super. It identifies what is good about any sales or service model but also what is not good about a particular model. The SPOV stands for ‘Substantial Proof of Value’, a much needed analysis of a service industry managing a significant amount of asset owned by individuals who want to know how to optimise their projected income in retirement.

The level of commercial knowledge required to analyse a significant portion of the financial services industry requires a high degree of skill. If you are going to change an industry for the better, you have to know what you are talking about and then you have to have the evidence to back up your opinions.

Outcomes are dependent upon the skills of the people doing the analysis and drawing conclusions from the situation. As an analogy, do you really think there is a politician with the ability to run an economy? Likewise, in examining the outcomes since, was the Royal Commission staffed by people who could analyse the financial services industry and improve its operation?

 What needs to change?

The most prevalent strategy within employer super is the MySuper investment default. Every product has its own design and not all of them are good. They are all labelled and promoted as being superior and generally speaking performing against their stated benchmark. The government introduced MySuper as a license regime for products and, as an afterthought, APRA has now come up with a methodology to identify and disqualify underperformers, based on PDS cost and return over a fixed period.

From its introduction to this latest initiative by the government, MySuper as a solution appears to be an example of interference and not clear improvement. 

In terms of prioritising change, I always think the top three initiatives, if measured on the level of improvement, is the perfect place to start:

  1. Employer Knowledge

Employers need to be more curious about the highest employee benefit from the point of view of value and then need a source of data to inform about best practice in employer super.

  1. Product versus Service

Within employer super, product has dominated the market model for thirty years in terms of practices adopted by the financial services industry. Consider how much of the conversation with your current provider is about product performance as opposed to service performance and try to identify what the appropriate measures are for service value.

  1. Projected Income in Retirement

Start to consider the optimisation of asset at an individual account level based on projected income in retirement and the impact of cost, contribution and investment return. There are many typical flaws which detract from optimising an employee’s projected income in retirement, some never discussed by the platform concerned. 

Essentially the product model continues to dominate the quality of servicing within employer super. Platforms will complain they are not licensed to provide personal advice and they are running financial wellness programs for all employees to attend. Within such financial wellness programs, the management of the employer plan is minimised as a subject and then so few people turn up to such events and even fewer people do anything about their super at the right time.

Contact us

Employer super is still controversial and if you want to better understand what is right, what is wrong and what to do about it within your current plan arrangement, please contact AXIS on 1800 111 299 or by email at consulting@axisfg.com.au

For your information, AXIS Financial Group is a privately owned partnership with its own Australian Financial Services License. AXIS has no commercial arrangements with any platform or product.

This document was prepared and issued by AXIS Financial Group (ABN 21 092 889 579, AFSL 233680). The information contained within it is not advice. It provides general information only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should assess whether the information is appropriate for you and consider talking with your financial adviser before making an investment decision. Information in this publication, which is taken from sources other than AXIS Financial Group, is believed to be accurate. However, subject to any contrary provision in any applicable law, neither AXIS Financial Group, nor its employees and directors, provide any warranty of accuracy or reliability in relation to such information or accepts any liability to any person who relies on it.


Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd engaged AXIS Financial Group in reviewing the existing employer super arrangements and clarifying which product provider might be best for Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd and it’s group of companies.

AXIS Financial Group provided a concise explanation as to who might be best and why, in particular ensuring that the internal project team had the information to feel confident as decisions were made. The project team moved from arguably being daunted by the prospect of improving this particular employer funded employee entitlement and better understood how to manage super as a remuneration benefit through the detailed analysis and explanation provided by AXIS Financial Group

Antony Auliso
General Manager - Human Resources Division
Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd

I want to thank AXIS Financial Group for their efforts in handling insurance claims on behalf of the employees of WesTrac. From the moment AXIS Financial Group were appointed to the task, they moved so seamlessly into position and have made sure that WesTrac is not only better serviced as a result but also more informed about claims progress. I also note the outstanding results achieved by AXIS with respect to marketing and placement of our employer super policy.

It seems nothing is a problem for the AXIS team and I would commend all employers to consider this service.

Gary Carter
Group Insurance Manager
WesTrac Pty Ltd

AXIS Financial Group’s knowledge of employer super is second to none.

DXC tasked AXIS Financial Group with consolidating multiple superannuation funds to a
single company-wide default fund. They delivered, displaying superior knowledge of their
industry, along with the highest level of service and diligence.
From start to finish – the initial analysis of our previous funds, the detailed tender process,
the transition to our new fund, and post-transition – AXIS Financial Group always made
themselves available for support.
We strongly recommend speaking to AXIS Financial Group for all matters relating to
employer super.

Michael McGoldrick
Director, Compensation Asia Pacific
DXC Technology