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Stapling is here. What does it mean for super marketing teams?

Will this be the end of accruing more unwanted fees that erode super balances? Or will this herald a new level of ‘set and forget’?

Another part of the Your Super Superannuation reforms arrive this month – when Australians will be ‘stapled’ to one super fund as they move from job to job. Gone will be the days of apathy leading to blindly collecting multiple super funds via default sign-ups whenever it’s time to sign documents with your new employer.

Who will be the biggest winners and biggest losers from this epic shift in legislation when it lands next month? For some it may appear to be great because a restaurant job is often someone’s first job. For others it may appear to be problematic because a graduate lawyer will be ‘stapled’ to their previous super fund given to them by their retail employer.

It stands to reason that members will at least benefit by avoiding fees they would otherwise be completely unaware of, risk forgetting about, or see diminished balances when it came time to rollover and consolidate their accounts.

This shift is part of a wider national dialogue around how super works, and how it must benefit working (and retired!) Australians more than it currently does. Mostly, the intentions have been good, however, it’s Australians that have paid the price for a lack of regulation and Governance. As with any financial issue, it’s the people who are least engaged that have been more adversely impacted. Their fault, you say? Not if the legislation was intended to work in favour of the individual trying to make their retirement vision a reality.

In terms of public conversation, news coverages and national discourse, superannuation is red hot. So what are the implications for funds that have enjoyed young workers starting their working life with them? And what are the implications for more niche funds that workers opt into when prompted by an employer in their long-term career or industry? For the former, retention is about to become more important than ever. And for the latter, acquisition may be about to get substantially more challenging.

Does your fund acquire members when they first enter the workforce?

So you’re acquiring members without too much effort? They might be younger, have lower balances and have lower super guarantee contributions, but they’re stapled and they’re a part of your membership. This of course ensures that the contributions will continue to flow even when they change jobs. Hopefully for many years to come. And, stapling reforms will also reduce the risk of low balances being transferred to the ATO.

Having members is a great start, keeping them is where the challenge starts. There will come a time when each member will question the fund they chose when they began their first job – when they were disengaged, less future-focused, and financial freedom occupied less brain space. From our recent qualitative research work, we’ve developed insights into the decision trigger points and the emotional motivations associated with them. Key milestones including finishing university, beginning work in a desired career, and family milestones such as marriage or having children. Being relevant, helpful and irrefutably distinctive will go a long way to ensure the brand affinity is strong enough to remain sticky. They may still be years away from reaching their peak salary level, and almost certainly years away from solid retirement planning.

Key questions to ask your teams:

  • How are we making a difference to their career (and lives!) right now?
  • Beyond a logo and proof points that other funds can also make claim to, what is our point of difference?
  • Is our member value proposition clear?
  • What are our emotional benefits that gives us a higher purpose?

Does your fund acquire members when they’re establishing their career?

Being either a specialist fund, niche fund, or large-scale ‘broad church’ may, generally speaking, result in a more mature and financially established membership. Meaning that your members will have a higher balance, high super contributions coming in, and would often consider themselves to be in the building up stage of their career. However, it’s less likely that this is their first super fund. And in the future, similar audiences will be stapled elsewhere. The decision trigger points remain the same, as workers experience similar life stage motivations and desires, so on the flipside, how can a fund position itself for success when people are asking themselves these questions and questioning the fund they’re stapled to? And don’t forget, employers have an important role to play here.

Key questions to ask your teams:

  • How easy is it for members to rollover and join our fund? Experience the user journey for yourself. It may reveal an unpleasant quirk that can be easily transformed.
  • What makes us a viable choice for the long-term?
  • Are we empowering large employers with the information they need to responsibly recommend us to their employees?
  • Are we putting enough emphasis on the potential of employee relationships? What does their digital experience look like?
  • Again, is our member value proposition clear?

It’s important to not oversimplify the business problem as acquisition and retention. In a member’s world – the real world – it will always come down to value and differentiation. These challenges aren’t unique to a ‘post-stapling’ world, they’re now just a little more defined. SGY’s customer-focused strategic brand building uses design thinking methodologies, agile qualitative research, and years of superannuation experience and legislation understanding to deliver customised digital experiences and creative customer engagement.

By realising the power of your brand, member engagement potential, stapling will simply inspire proactive, insight-fuelled growth strategies.

Get in touch with us today. We’d love to discuss your organisation’s unique challenges.