AUSTRALIA - One of Australia's biggest banks has called on the financial services industry to step up to help close the nation's retirement savings gap.
Speaking at the Melbourne Financial Services Symposium today, Ahmed Fahour, CEO of National Australia Bank, said banks needed to step up to the challenge of population ageing and insufficient savings levels.
“The complexity of taxation arrangements, the myriad of product offers and the amount of recent change in the financial planning industry all contribute to a level of confusion around savings,” he said.
“We have to overcome the uniquely Australian ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude when faced with savings and investment choices. In truth – it may not.
“Australians’ lack of interest in saving for retirement is matched by an unwillingness to protect the investments they make. Changing this scenario required continued focus from the government on the value of financial advice and a better understanding of customer concerns by the industry to ensure continual improvement. To date, banks have struggled to seamlessly connect basic banking products and more sophisticated financial tools.”
Fahour said the introduction of the choice of fund legislation would encourage Australians to take a “more active interest” in their retirement income.
“Compulsory superannuation, when it was introduced, was a bold step and has given Australia a unique place in the funds management world,” he said.
“But it will not alone deliver the lifestyle that we all look forward to in retirement. Choice is probably the biggest single trigger event that will lead to people needing advice so far. Choice is good – choice with quality advice is fantastic.”
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