The survey of 15 major Australia super funds representing close to a third of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)-regulated funds showed most had spent $2 million or more on digital projects so far.
While less than a quarter (20 per cent) of funds had invested in digital advice, numbers were double those at four years ago, and 80 per cent of funds had only been in the development process for less than three years.
Less than 30 per cent of funds had begun the implementation of digital advice tools such as enhanced mobile experience, with the ASFA/Decimal survey showing investment thus far had centred on foundational capability upgrades, data analytics capabilities and administration system and calculator overhauls.
Decimal chief executive, Nic Pollock said an increase in digital offerings was crucial for super funds as it played a major part in the retention of funds under administration (FUM).
“Going digital can lift engagement and help drive retention of members and grow their balances; it offers a recipe for successful innovation and welcome innovation,” he said.
“Multi-channel digital advice offerings via compliant and automated advice platforms would enhance fund brands and reputations.”
Half of the surveyed funds said the use of digital advice was difficult to understand, whilst 35 per cent said adoption took too much time and effort, and 28 per cent cited lack of trust.
“The survey showed the main impediments to implementing digital advice were business case and access to resourcing,” ASFA chief executive, Martin Fahy said.
“It is clear that regulatory and policy changes have crowded out innovation.”