How AI Could Supercharge the Superannuation Sector

The superannuation sector can be extremely challenging. Companies have to manage and analyse vast amounts of data and face rising risks of fraud and cyber threats. However, machine learning and artificial intelligence may well hold the solution. The technologies have the potential to automate processes, personalise offerings, and significantly reduce risk, and they are leading many superannuation firms to reevaluate their operations. 

By leveraging AI, superannuation firms can address specific business challenges, such as acquiring and retaining members, enhancing investment portfolios and addressing evolving member requirements. Ultimately, superannuation funds require considerable thought and care to ensure members are satisfied and engaged and, of course, that their investments are secure. By harnessing AI, superannuation companies could transform how they deliver their services, empower members to make informed decisions about their financial future and gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving financial landscape.

Challenges Facing the Superannuation Sector

Superannuation firms are facing several challenges that are leading them to reevaluate the way they operate. Firstly, many firms struggle to analyse the vast amount of member data, market trends and economic indicators to inform investment decisions. However, this is vital to their success, especially in a crowded market where it is increasingly difficult for funds to attract and retain new members. Meanwhile, they face a growing risk of fraud and cyberattacks, needing to keep funds safe, ensure data privacy and adhere to an ever-changing regulatory landscape. 

While the industry is experiencing intensifying pressure, the emergence of AI solutions, including ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, offers the opportunity to meet some of these challenges head-on. AI can enable businesses to interact more easily with large data sets, automate processes, deliver new services, and streamline operations, ultimately helping superannuation firms retain and grow their market share. 

Applications of AI in the Superannuation Sector

AI offers powerful tools that can revolutionise how super funds operate, promising to unlock hidden insights, personalise member experiences, and navigate an increasingly complex landscape. Some of the most exciting applications of AI within the superannuation sector include: 

  • Enhanced Investment Portfolios – one of the key objectives of superfunds is to provide the best possible quality of life to its members during retirement. AI can help achieve this by analysing data, finding patterns and informing investment decisions. By leveraging AI, funds can better forecast revenue growth and improve investment outcomes by selecting assets with the best opportunity to gain the highest yield. 
  • Improved Customer Service – as in all industries, AI offers huge advantages in relation to customer service. Simple AI-powered chatbots can handle basic questions and provide round-the-clock assistance. Meanwhile, more sophisticated models can provide fund information and personalised tax and investment advice, acting as virtual assistants to help members complete tasks and become more educated about their options. The data collected from these interactions can then be analysed to help superfunds better understand member needs and improve the service their agents provide. 
  • Strengthened Risk Management – financial institutions and their members are highly vulnerable to fraud. While technology and the increasingly interconnected IT infrastructures cause increased risk, technology also has the potential to be the solution. AI can help monitor threats and detect fraudulent activity in real-time. Being able to respond quickly is vital to reducing risk and limiting data loss and also helps adhere to rigorous reporting and compliance requirements.
  • Task Automation -AI can automate repetitive, manual tasks like processing contribution payments, verifying member details against government databases, and generating routine account statements. This frees human agents to focus on complex financial planning strategies, personalised investment advice, and proactive member outreach.

AustralianSuper – Revolutionising the Retirement Saving Sector

AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest and fastest-growing superannuation fund, is leading the way with its innovative use of AI to revolutionise the retirement saving sector. The company has undergone a significant technological transformation, leveraging AI technologies since 2016 to help drive decision-making. However, the arrival of generative AI has led to the company sharpening its focus on AI to improve member outcomes. AI is playing a key role in the fund’s quest for operational excellence and offers incredible opportunities to enhance efficiency, improve member experiences, and enable data-driven decision-making. 

AustralianSuper has established a dedicated AI engineering team and is one of only 600 organisations globally participating in the Copilot for Microsoft 365 Early Access Program (EAP). The company is starting with a program to raise its AI maturity, ensuring that the proper onboarding, education and training are in place to derive value from Copilot. However, it hopes to increase productivity by 5% across the organisation within the next 12 months. 

Early results from the Copilot for Microsoft 365 program are promising, with users leveraging AI for meetings, drafting and summarising documents. Now, the entire workforce has been encouraged to start using the service; the company is driving high adoption and inclusivity, building a community of AI champions. The aim is to help everyone embrace generative AI, learn from each other, and achieve better outcomes, whether that’s delivering services more quickly, gaining better insights or making better investment decisions. 

AustralianSuper has also extended its use of generative AI into cybersecurity by participating in Microsoft’s Security Copilot EAP. As with every fund, the company has to analyse an ever-increasing volume of data. With Security Copilot, AustralianSuper hopes to remove some of the administrative burden and manual tasks so its team can focus on high-value activities.

Is Your Business AI-Ready?

While AustralianSuper is leading the way with its use of AI, the company has only scratched the surface of its potential. However, what it has done is laid the foundation for AI, ensuring responsible AI, encouraging user adoption and establishing strong governance to ensure AI aligns with its business values. 

AI and automation are still in their early stages within superannuation. However, the potential for transformation is immense. Personalised investment strategies, fraud detection and risk management, and improved member engagement and education are just the beginning. As we move forward, AI will bring in foundational changes that will fundamentally reshape the industry. By laying the groundwork now, your business can seize a competitive advantage and ensure it can leverage AI to its full potential.