I think that I speak on behalf of the financial services industry and welcome the new National Innovation and Science Agenda introduced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently in Canberra.

The innovation statement will focus on four pillars:

  • Culture and capital
  • Collaboration
  • Talent and Skills
  • Government as an exemplar

Underpinning the four pillars will be tax breaks for early stage investors, an incubator support program, investment in cyber security, new visas, and greater opportunities for women and the introduction of a $200 million CSIRO research fund.

There will be a focus on facilitating private investment in the early stage start-ups and collaboration between public sector and private business. Given the statement included 24 policies costing $1.1 billion over four years and covering 11 portfolios the scope and potential of this focus will be broad.

The superannuation industry will be digesting this policy mandate, from a wide range of opportunities the mandate will enable, from impacts on the investment landscape, to how to better service consumers and the changing market dynamics as innovation brings new services and competitors into the marketplace.

Of note is the major emphasis on changing culture to embrace change and innovation.
Embracing change and innovation will be the key to successfully adopting these opportunities, and for many these will be the challenge of 2016.

A story that is developing, and a case study that no doubt will be referenced by many over the year will be the Uber experience in Australia. The value of the Uber service is clear, a well-designed service delivering what customers want in a market overdue for disruption. We have seen the arrival of an innovative competitive service that is focused on the customer. For the superannuation industry the challenge will be how stakeholders, including the state and federal governments embrace change, accept innovation AND focus on the customer. We may very well see the impact of de-regulation in the ACT and how this plays out in other states and potentially the courts. However we don’t expect the media and consumers behaviour to change their tune over the coming year – they are for Uber.

We are on threshold of 2016 and reform is on the agenda. It is clear that the superannuation industry will need to ramp up its efforts as the number of agendas start to take shape, with changing market dynamics made available through the implementation of the FSI recommendations, , questions on the award nature of superannuation and the continued focus of superannuation funds to continue the digital journey. A more recent blog also covered what we believe to be an unplanned but major consideration – interpreting the opportunity of the New Payments Platform. Superannuation funds need to ensure their own culture is ready to embrace change and innovation, and to adopt what is becoming the word of 2015 – agility.

No doubt 2016 will be another exciting year. If you don’t think it will be call me and I can tell you what you are missing out on.


Ron Mullins

Director – Business Development Network