Football finals are upon us. Regardless of the code, many of us are sure to be waiting in anticipation of who will triumph and who will rue their failure over the next few weeks.
As any fan would know, it is incredibly rare for a football team to win every single game. Some win more than they lose, some lose more than they win. And fans tend to become more engaged when their team performs well consistently – they attend more games, boast about it to everyone they know (positive word-of-mouth), buy more merchandise and so on.
Super funds are similar in some ways. Sometimes, a fund’s default investment option beats the median fund in the monthly performance league tables, other times it sits below it.
Like the legendary football teams, the top super funds have strong players (investment managers and staff) and tactics (investment processes) that are well-supported and well-led with a culture of performance. And like the legendary teams that often trounce their opponent a week after a loss, these funds tend to bounce back relatively quickly from a period of poor performance.
But do members become more engaged when their fund performs well consistently? The evidence suggests there is ample room for improvement in this regard, with CoreData’s recent Member Engagement research revealing a year-on-year decline in engagement levels despite another year of solid returns.
Most, if not all, super funds communicate to their members on how their investment options are performing. Some do this monthly or quarterly, some not so regularly. Some send out emails or newsletters, some turn to video presentations with expert commentaries. However, a one-size-fits-all or a ‘shotgun’ approach will not work.
At CoreData, we know super fund members generally fit into one of four main behavioural segments: avoiders, outsourcers, coach seekers and controllers.
Avoiders and outsourcers are more likely to have a poor understanding of their fund’s investment communications and simply not care much about them.
In contrast, by virtue of wanting some degree of control, coach seekers and controllers are likely to value the nitty gritty in their fund’s investment communications. They are more likely to care about which investments have performed well, what has been happening in the market and their fund’s investment intentions.
For avoiders and outsourcers, such detailed communications are likely to be deleted or thrown straight in the bin. What could work to lift their engagement is if the fund were to communicate consistency of long-term returns, a relatively simple yet powerful narrative that these members are more likely to appreciate and understand. And some funds are indeed consistent long-term performers.
It does not mean the nitty gritty is not important. But this is more relevant for and valued by coach seekers and controllers, and providing such information could lift their engagement with the fund.
Overall, the core message in all investment communications to members, particularly to avoiders and outsourcers, should be consistency of long-term returns. If your fund happens to be a consistent long-term performer, this is a really powerful sell that you should be communicating.
After all, everyone knows, form is temporary, class is permanent.