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The problem with super

Problem Solved for Employer Super?

Since its introduction almost 30 years ago super has been mainly funded by employer contributions. You’d think by now we’d be better at managing this significant employee benefit, especially given the social and technological developments that have taken place in that time but there are problems with super. 

The Royal Commission of 2018 aimed to identify the problem. Surely they must have applied the right solution? Both the public and private face of the Royal Commission was staffed by professionals who were leaders in their occupation.

Thousands of communications were collected and consumed by the Commissioner and his staff.  Issues were identified and there were early expressions talking about “greed” and “fees for no services”.  Executives within certain organisations were publicly questioned to explain the various practices and what their motivation was in dishonestly milking every Australian’s super asset.  The evidence was damning!

Deficiencies in managing the asset were uncovered and then rectification had to be conducted to fix the problem.  Recommendations were made by the Royal Commission, and the government committed to pass appropriate legislation.

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However, I contest that the actual problem with employer super was never accurately identified.

Crime & Punishment?

The weakness of the Royal Commission was that errors were identified and punished through a remediation process.  Where errors were found, processes within product providers were adjusted.

The government is examining the recommendations made by the Royal Commission many of which simply increased regulatory vigilance or cancelled previous government regulation.  The government has passed new legislation around employer super which increases their control of automatic choice of product and emphasises the one standard model of wealth delivery, being the MySuper investment default.  Consistent with the traditional service model, the government appears to discount anything that might be a superior model to the MySuper option for a one size fits all approach.

This appears to be a disengagement strategy: trust us as the government will look after you. 

So what might be better?

Employer super is an important niche around the overall management of the Australian economy and it should be a clear and stable process aimed at optimising an employee’s super at individual account level.

AXIS in conjunction with Super Simpler Pty Ltd is bringing a new solution to employer super in terms of using what might be considered as the best employer super platform in terms of product design along with a digital service interface known as SuperWiser. 

AXIS has been involved in servicing employer super at individual account level for over 25 years – almost since its introduction.  AXIS realised some years ago that most product providers are limited in their capacity to deliver a personal service at individual account level.  AXIS proceeded to develop our own capability of doing this through advisers attending site and meeting with individual employees in 30 minute sessions.  In terms of workforce penetration, AXIS achieved levels of contact with individual employees never achieved by other service providers.

In spite of the high levels of employee contact achieved, AXIS has understood that this approach usually peaks around 50% of members of the employee super plan.  AXIS has therefore developed SuperWiser to help everyone access personal scaled advice.

Having an application does also mean that the service is available 24/7.  An additional advantage is the reduced pricing in accessing advice.  

The exercise of power

There is much research into how skilled the average Australian is in managing their financial affairs and how much anxiety it causes the typical employee when they are faced with money pressure.  The research tends to explain that poor work performance and even high sick days is most often caused by financial stress.

Whatever is currently an employee wage or salary is there to manage an immediate lifestyle.  Super is supposedly about your future lifestyle in retirement.  Then again the government seems to get confused and there are now two instances of odd occasions where the individual can access their super for a lump sum.  I do sympathise with the government about the complexities of modern life and the media’s expectation that the government’s super hero capability will save us all.  The most recent budget puts everything into perspective as everyone knows there is an election due based upon the amount of money the government is releasing to various initiatives.

The government is a manager of political issues and their management of economic issues be they now or in our retirement are unsustainable.  Australia as a single country cannot stand up against everything that is happening in the global economy.

Contact 1800 111 299 or consulting@axisfg.com.au if you want to know more.

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