They have sexy names like Spaceship, Grow Super and Zuper. And their target is the generation which apparently cares the least about super.
Suddenly, targeting the 30+ generation is the next big thing among Australia’s $2.3 trillion retirement funds.
They all promise one thing – a departure from the stodgy and well established superannuation funds which appeal more to the millennials’ mums and dads.
Millennials, aged between 18 and 35, have largely been overlooked by the financial services industry because they have small bank balances.
They are often disengaged with all things financial and prone to spending more on overseas travel or chomping on smashed avocado toast. They are a generation that are still burdened with student debt and locked out of the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets.
Spaceship is backed by Atlassians’s Mike-Cannon Brookes and billionaire Peter Thiel. Zuper was developed by Jessica Ellern from payments firm Tyro and Grow Super was founded by Josh Wilson, formerly of Commonwealth Bank and Mathew Keeley, a financial planner for high net worth individuals.
These start-ups are shaking up the super industry with the promise of giving their young members greater control over the way their retirement savings are invested.
But be warned. Superannuation consultancy Rice Warner CEO Michael Rice told the Australian Financial Review: “They appear to offer something innovative but the promoters appear to have no experience in investment management.
“These products are heavily marketed to the young and gullible.”
ASIC’s Money Smart website also warned: “Choosing a super fund is a bit like dating. Pick the right fund and you’ll be set for a long happy and comfortable life when you retire. Set your sights on the wrong one and you’re in for a world of pain.’’
Spaceship launched in March has been heavily marketed on Facebook and Instagram. It has positioned itself as a technology business with strong weighting in US tech stocks.
Grow launched with an iPhone app has outsourced its investment to global fund, Dimensional Fund Advisers and will allocate 15 per cent of its portfolio to green energy, internet and start-ups.
Warner Rice has also warned that the new breed of super products have “outrageous” fees.
Spaceship charges 1.6 per cent a month in fees plus $1.50 a month for administration. Grow has a flat fee of 1.85 per cent per year compared to the industry average of 1.03 per cent says Rice Warner.
Whether the new breed of super funds will prosper is questionable.
Virgin Super, launched in great fanfare in 2005 with the support of flamboyant billionaire Richard Branson, has languished. Last year it was folded into a product of global investment group, Mercer, says Rice Warner.