Considering switching super because of ethical aims? You’re not alone

Are you thinking of switching your superannuation fund in the next year because you want more ethical or socially responsible fund? You’re not alone – according to a survey by Investment Trends, the number of people who have switched funds looking for a more ethical/SRI option has more than doubled from 5% to 10%.

Investment Trends has issued its annual 2018 Super Fund Member Sentiment and Communications Report, which surveys super fund members’ attitudes, behaviours, needs and priorities. The report, surveyed more than 10,000 super fund members conducted in May 2018. The report found that more people have overall satisfaction with their superannuation fund – 71% of super fund members rated their overall satisfaction with their main super fund as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in 2018, up from 69% in 2017 and 64% in 2016. However, the number of people thinking of switching their super fund has risen from 5% in 2017 to 7% this year, says King Loong Choi, senior analyst at Investment Trends.

The growing intention to switch super funds is predominantly driven by younger Australians, with 16% of those aged between 18 and 34 saying they intend to do so, King says.

For people that did switch their superannuation fund, high fees are the most common motivator, cited by 30% of respondents,  but 10% said they would switch to find a more ethical option. That figure rose to 14% with millennial respondents, King says.

“What may be appearing to happen is that people are increasingly finding socially responsible investing to be important to them,” King says. “That is a broader theme that we’ve been seeing not just in the superannuation industry, but in investment in general. In light of what has been happening, we’re delving more into this with a study later this year.”

Digital engagement appears to be on the rise as well – a separate study by Investment Trends found that in 2018, over a quarter of members (26%) said they used a smartphone or tablet device to access information from their main super fund, up from just 16% in 2014. In addition, members most often say they prefer to access information about their super account through an online statement (41%) and the fund’s website or mobile app (30%), ahead of paper statements (21%).