70% of Australians think that all superannuation funds should be run on a not-for-profit basis, according to an Essential poll commissioned by Industry Super Australia.
The poll also found that 69% have either ‘some trust’ or ‘a lot of trust’ in the views of industry super funds ensuring the superannuation system works in the best interest of ordinary Australians. 22% said industry funds weren’t trustworthy. This compares to 38% thinking the government was trustworthy on the issue (53% not trustworthy) and only 31% thinking the four major banks were trustworthy (61% not trustworthy).
75% said that banks should only be allowed to recommend superannuation, and other, products to their customers where it leaves the customer better off. Only 5% disagreed, 21% were neutral.
58% thought that banks would use compulsory superannuation to exploit fund members. 58% also agreed with the statement ‘more involvement by the banks in superannuation could mean people like me have less to retire on’.
66% agreed that ‘the banks are already too powerful, and letting them have more of the superannuation market would make that situation worse’.
Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said the results of the poll sent a clear message that the public wants their superannuation to work in their interest, not as a profit-making opportunity for the banks.
“When it comes to super, the banks are legally required to act in the best interest of their customers; most Australians don’t believe they do,” he said.
“Consumers know aggressive cross-selling of advice, insurance and super is designed to boost shareholder profits rather than leave them better off.”
“The banks’ relentless lobbying to remove consumer default protections could result in people ending up in under-performing funds and a nest egg that’s tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars short.”
“Australians have told us what they think – they don’t trust the banks and believe their culture and profit motive are at odds with the purpose of super.
“Public opinion clearly runs counter to the banks’ efforts to change the super system to suit their vertically integrated business models. Astute policymakers will be listening,” said Mr Whiteley.
The poll is based on a survey conducted between 15-26 February 2017 of 1000 people, weighed to represent the wider population.
2017 is set to see fight between industry and retail super funds continue, with the Government planning to make changes to super choice and a Productivity Commission inquiry into alternative ways to set default super funds.