SUPERANNUATION funds are resorting to throwing parties, giving away overseas trips and helping their members meet celebrities to attract young customers.
AustralianSuper, recently sponsored the reality television show The Voice, and offered some of its members tickets to the finale and a "meet and greet" with judges Seal, Delta Goodrem and Keith Urban. It also paid for a trip to Kenya for the winner of its Kick Start competition.
The fund said no members' fund profits were used to advertise the show on its website. "We believe that partnering with The Voice to offer the Kick Start competition helps connect with young people and gets them more interested in their financial futures," it said.
CareSuper also threw a party for its young members in June at Melbourne's Campari House, complete with canapes, alcohol and gift bags. The former Olympic swimmer Giaan Rooney was a guest speaker.
The head of super at research consultancy CoreData, Kristen Turnbull, said such giveaways were aimed at drawing attention to super brands as more people moved away from joining their workplace's default fund and became selective about their super.
"These short-term incentives are really just trying to get people interested in super, which is, let's be honest, not a very sexy topic," she said. "It's about trying to make people more aware of their super, educate them a little bit, give them some short-term incentives to pay attention and then hope that will result in increasing engagement in the longer term."
Funds were increasingly competing for their share of Generation X and Y members as the ageing population made long-term growth a new battleground for the super industry.
"As the baby boomer generation moves into retirement, they're going to start drawing down on their superannuation nest eggs and funds are recognising it's really important to have a balance in getting that growth at the younger end and younger people into their funds," Ms Turnbull said.
She said funds were tapping into the fact most people - particularly younger workers - tended to join a new super fund when they changed jobs, without closing down their old account.
Ms Turnbull said competition between super funds for younger members would heat up in the next few years as the industry shrunk. A CoreData white paper forecast that the number of Australian super funds would fall by 40 per cent by 2020, with many looking to merge and some planning to take advantage of a broader demographic customer base.