Advisers specialising in the workplace superannuation space are ideally placed to offer online financial wellness programs and should be looking to broaden their services, according to Workplace Super Specialists Australia.

WSSA president Terry Rhodes called on advisers to look to fintech providers, whom he says are developing financial literacy programs at a “great rate of knots” to help the industry deliver on wellness and financial education and literacy initiatives.

Rhodes said fintech providers are already delivering a range of financial wellness programs, covering education around, for example, budgeting, spending, saving for emergencies, superannuation and preparing for retirement.

“These types of programs are gaining traction with employers and we see this as a huge opportunity for workplace super specialists who could partner with or white label solutions from providers,” Rhodes said.

“We have been looking at providers who have been delivering online financial literacy and wellness programs to employers in the UK and the US and will be reporting back on our discoveries.”

The Financial Wellness Index, released by WSSA last year in partnership with CoreData, attempts to define the extent to which a given person is “free from financial worries” and having the necessary resources to live their “desired lifestyle.” The index found that almost two in five Australian workers need to improve their financial wellness and only a third are considered truly financially well.

Those who are deemed financially unwell, WSSA explained, “typically struggle with the first building blocks to wellness: that is, budgeting and debt management.” In this category, 96% of respondents indicated they were not prepared for the future, and 91% said their finances were out of control.

More broadly, the majority of those in the highest financial wellness category (“superstars”) were financially advised (56.6%).

“We know employees who lack financial wellness tend to be more stressed, as observed by more than three in five employers,” Rhodes said at the time.

“Further, a significant number of employers also noted presenteeism (43.3%), low morale (30%), and absenteeism (16.7%) as other consequences of poor financial wellness. Financial wellness programs have a clear benefit for all involved, employees and employers alike, and if we play that out even further, a national benefit.”

Published 23 August 2017