AvSuper’s Trustee, as an RSE licensee is required to formulate a retirement income strategy to take effect from 1 July 2022 under the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act 1993 (SIS Act).
The strategy aligns with AvSuper’s Strategic Plan and is designed to help members achieve and balance three key objectives:
- Maximising their expected retirement income.
- Managing expected risks to the sustainability and stability of their expected retirement income; and
- Having flexible access to expected funds during retirement.
AvSuper’s Investment beliefs provide the framework and guiding principles for setting the AvSuper Retirement Income Strategy. From this base the Trustee has determined that the key elements of its retirement strategy are:
- Empowering members to achieve their individual retirement goals
- Acknowledging that retirement adequacy differs for each member, and a suite of products and services is required to formulate individual member solutions.
- Simplicity of products and options helps members navigate and achieve their unique goals and outcomes.
- Recognising that financial advice plays an important part in helping members develop and achieve their goals.
The Trustee believes the key to solving for retirement hinges on principles of simplicity and individual choice to support more members achieving financial security at the end of their working life.
The strategy outlines the process and key principles used by the Trustee in determining the best approach for AvSuper retiring members, acknowledging members may have differing needs in retirement and unique individual requirements may be tailored utilising the Fund’s advice model. The strategy has been developed based on member data (survey information, demographics, objectives and cohorts), organisational strategic goals, retirement objectives and member engagement strategies.
The Trustee also notes that its retirement income strategy may be superseded by any potential Superannuation Fund Transfer (SFT) arrangement that may come into place.
Member information is critical
In December 2021, the Trustee surveyed all AvSuper members approaching or in retirement to gain more information around members’ diverse needs and preferences for retirement. This survey identified the opportunity to consider member requirements across the following core factors:
- When members are expecting to or are likely to retire
- What level of support members require when reaching retirement age
- What products and product features are members seeking to access in retirement
Ongoing data collection and updating and monitoring of member preferences forms a critical component in the Trustee being able to:
- better communicate,
- provide suitable product and services and
- assist members both nearing and in retirement.
AvSuper has an account-based pension offering for members, which includes nine investment options with different risk and return profiles and timeframe for investment. This offers members a flexible and cost-effective way to access their retirement savings. Information around AvSuper’s offering and features can be found here.
The Trustee will continue to review and enhance its product offer to members, based on its members’ needs including longevity requirements.
Ongoing financial advice for retiring and retired members forms an important part of AvSuper’s philosophy and structure.
The Trustee has well established advice services to ensure members have access to comprehensive information and professional advice services to ensure they can make the right decisions about their retirement savings, taking into account their individual personal circumstances. More information about AvSuper’s advice services and tools are available here.
Retirement Income Risks
AvSuper’s investment approach is governed by the Investment Governance Framework Policy (IGPF) with a focus on sustainable and stable income in retirement.
Consistent with its Investment Governance Framework Policy (IGPF), the Trustee identifies the following risks relating to its Retirement Income Strategy:
- Longevity risk – the risk of retirees running out of savings
- Investment risk – Market volatility and the risk of negative returns.
- Income risks –income received under the minimum drawdown percentage may increase or decrease depending on movements in the account balance.
- Inflation risk –the loss of purchasing power.
- Other risks also noted are included in the IGFP and include and are not limited by legislation risk, adequacy risks, market risks, switching risks, currency risks and liquidity risks.
The Trustee has considered the sustainability of the fund and its overall offer to all members, including retirees. This has resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with ART regarding a potential merger of the two funds. While the Trustee is seeking efficiencies through collaboration with a potential partner, it is continuing to operate in the “best financial interests” of Retirees, which it believes is well served through its current product offer.