Automated Financial Advice for Superannuation

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Lochner, Martin; Duenser, Andreas; Reeson, Andrew

Lochner, Martin; Duenser, Andreas; Reeson, Andrew




An increasing range of financial services have been automated over the last couple of decades. Those who once visited their local bank branch regularly to cash cheques or deposit their earnings are now likely to hardly set foot in one now as all our transactions are done online. Financial advice is the new frontier for automation, with a number of ‘robo-advisor’ products under development or beginning to interact with customers. Such automated systems have great potential to cost-effectively extend financial advice beyond the minority who currently enjoy it. However, it faces barriers, both in the form of many people’s low engagement with superannuation, as well as their wariness of trusting technology with their finances. Previous work suggests that automated systems, if designed and implemented well, could improve engagement through enhancing people’s underlying motivation. Such systems would seek to promote customers’ experience of relatedness, competence and autonomy, overcoming the de-motivating default-based passive management which currently prevails for most superannuation fund members. This report describes two surveys:, one survey to better understand people’s perception of automated advice, and an experimental survey to better understand attitudes towards the automation of financial advice, and how experience with a simple automated financial advice system impacts users’ attitudes and motivations. The results indicate that many people are open to automated advice, with some even preferring it to interacting with a human advisor. Interest in robo-advice was higher among younger adults (who often tend to be least engaged with superannuation) and those with higher incomes. Experience of a simplified automated system was associated with a small but statistically significant increase in trust towards robo-advice. Breaking the sample down into clusters of people with initially similar attitudes showed that experience of the online calculator had the greatest impact on those who were initially least positive, increasing their perceived competence and autonomy.



Economics not elsewhere classified ; Decision Making

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Client Report (Author)


Lochner, Martin; Duenser, Andreas; Reeson, Andrew. Automated Financial Advice for Superannuation. CSIRO: CSIRO; 2017. csiro:EP172684.

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