In her final Superannuation Complaints Tribunal report before stepping down, chairperson Jocelyn Furlan has urged the superannuation industry to do better in engaging with frustrated members.
Furlan said that as post retirement products take centre stage in the super world, superannuation should not just contribute to financial dignity but also transactional dignity.
"Members should not have to take a deep breath and gird their loins against a sense of vulnerability and impending frustration before they pick up the telephone to call their superannuation fund," she said.
The industry must do better in empowering members and aiming them with information and tools to enable them to transact with confidence on their superannuation."
Super funds must also offer effective dispute resolution services, and if they cannot be solved internally, members must be able to access a free, credible avenue to voice their complaints, she said.
"It's this final right to access — to a fair and independent dispute resolution body — that is the Tribunal's function."
Furlan also took the opportunity to call for more resources and funding transparency for the Tribunal.
She noted that resources for the SCT were cut by 14 per cent compared to 2013-14. This is in contrast to an 18 per cent increase in the number of complaints it received as at 31 December 2014 compared with the previous year.
"It is important that the Tribunal is adequately resourced, otherwise the backlog of complaints, which has been so successfully reduced, will build up again," she said.
Furlan said more can be done to improve the SCT's performance, including increasing SCT's accountability to the super sector and other stakeholders.
Furlan will be chairperson until March.