SMSF growth prompts industry super change

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Industry super fund NGS Super has undertaken detailed research into why super fund members move to self-managed funds, and has today launched a direct investments platform for its members in order to stay competitive.
NGS Super, which has around 105,000 members mainly from the education sector, has partnered with asset manager and consultant Mercer to develop a customised platform for members to trade ASX300 shares, a choice of exchange traded funds and term deposits, from their super or pension accounts.
The NGS platform was launched today and will help the super fund keep costs under control, said NGS Super CEO Anthony Rodwell-Ball.
“We know that some members want more control over their investments, but for a fund of our size, the cost of developing a direct investment platform looked prohibitive at first. Working with Mercer, however, it cost  less than half as much as going it alone.”
As part of the development, NGS Super’s financial planners have done an education and compliance programme with Mercer to make sure they can advise members on how to use the platform to maximise investment results, Rodwell-Ball said.
“It’s important to us that our financial planners are equipped with the right skills to ensure our members are not only using the tool correctly, but are making informed, supported decisions,  in order to make the most of the investment options available to them.”
NGS Super was the first client to approach Mercer about developing the platform, as the $5.7 billion fund recognised a direct investment option would make it more competitive, especially against the burgeoning SMSF market.
“NGS Super has undertaken detailed research into why super fund members move to self-managed funds, so we know that more investment choice and a greater say over where their money goes is crucial to retaining these more active members,” Rodwell-Ball said.
Ben Walsh, head of Mercer’s financial services business in the Pacific, said superannuation funds need to find cost-effective solutions to compete in the market.
“Super funds are already grappling with implementing MySuper and SuperStream reforms. Against that background, it can be hard to focus on product development or find budget for new initiatives. Partnering with us has allowed a number of our clients to keep their foot on the innovation pedal, while managing both their costs and their time”.