Blog / Superannuation

Business-to-business integration capability across the value chain is driving a new technology landscape for Australia’s superannuation funds and needs to be viewed with an open application programming interface (API) mindset writes our Managing Director, Superannuation, Jeff Hall.

To meet greater expectations by members for more choice and better engagement tools, it’s critical that a super fund’s core administration and member portal technology is highly configurable. It also needs to easily integrate with other entities – from regulatory bodies such as APRA and the ATO, to trustees and even other fintech providers re-defining the business of superannuation with innovative and highly popular new apps.  

An open architecture puts choice directly into the hands of super funds. It puts members’ needs at the centre of everything it does and pivots away from technology vendors deciding which technologies it can and can’t, or will and won’t, integrate with.

"An open architecture puts choice directly into the hands of super funds."

Disruption, APIs and Digital

Super funds are starting to reap the benefits from the digital transformation projects that have been common place in the industry over the last decade. A comprehensive range of transactions and processes previously performed by hands on keyboards at the super fund’s administrator, have now moved into a self-service digital channel thanks to plug and play integrations.

This is further supported by a straight forward, simple to use, user interface.  In the cases where the member, employer or adviser do not have access to the digital channel the same straight forward process can be used by those in contact centres to complete the process on behalf of the caller. In effect the traditional super fund does not need to be involved in transactions and processes that are supported through a self-serve channel.

Recently there have been several new super funds entering the market with a range of new initiatives on the table, including fresh approaches to where members direct their investments and how they partner with business and technology service providers.

This new wave of disruptor super funds are looking for open API technology that allows them to have greater and more efficient control over their digital interface and ultimately their brands - all the way through to social media and the experience members have with them. It keeps funds nimble, enables them to differentiate their offering in the market and importantly, can help super funds to onboard a member online in minutes. This is vital in the age of the app.

Super fund administration technology is no different. It needs to be developed with this level of openness, enabling super funds to plug and play with any party they like. Technology is now the true enabler and not something that sets limitations on business capabilities.

Digital Differentiation and Value

And for the well-established super funds, many of whom are big brand players in the marketplace, having an open architecture is a great opportunity to take control of front-end elements of the value proposition with members. Most funds have or are evolving a digital presence. Some are pushing ahead with this goal to rapidly evolve their digital offering and are looking to introduce new features and functionality.

There is a need for super funds to tailor offerings to support individual member requirements – and an open architecture enables this. Differentiation can range from simple branding exercises through to integrating new product and add-on features like banking, home loans, advice and insurance. The list goes on.

This fresh collaboration is opening up new opportunities for super funds and members alike and it’s unlikely this level of disruption is going to stop. It is also essential for superannuation industry players to position themselves as digital disruptors, as it’s fast becoming the new norm.

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