When Melbourne man Mark MacLeod discovered he’d become yet another victim of a common Australian rip-off, he decided something needed to be done.
Like most of us, the 43-year old was caught up in the everyday demands of work and family and had neglected his finances for years.
But a few years ago, with a mortgage and three children under his belt, he decided to take more of an interest — and he was stunned by what he found.
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Mr MacLeod, who worked in sales and general management, realised he had lost more than $64,000 after being signed up by his employer to a MySuper account with AMP, which is touted by the company as “a simple default investment option for people who haven’t made an active choice about how their super is invested”.
But according to Mr MacLeod, the account was underperforming, knocking around 25 per cent off the total super he could have amassed.
“Based on my super balance, the year net return — what was left in my pocket after fees — was $72,500,” he said.
“Contrast this to the top performing investment option that achieved $136,500 over the same period, (and it was a) $64,000 loss.
“Even if I had merely been lucky enough to be invested in the 40th best investment option, I would still have been $20,000 better off.”
Mr MacLeod stressed he didn’t blame his former employer, adding the “mass destruction of employee wealth” through poor super funds was “clearly unintentional”.
But he said with the vast majority of Aussie workers being funnelled into default funds, urgent action was needed.
“I just felt like an idiot, and it made me wonder why I hadn’t done anything about it earlier,” he said.
Mr MacLeod said most of us would be “horrified” to be told we stood to lose $1 million in savings thanks to one poor decision — but that’s what many of us were doing by not choosing the best super fund over our working lives.
So, late last year, Mr MacLeod launched Australia’s first independent, employee choice-of-fund platform, Roll-it Super.
“I created Roll-it Super to help employers empower their employees to reclaim control of their super and give them the tools they need to properly understand and make the most of their money,” the CEO said.
Mr MacLeod said he was just an ordinary guy who decided to charge his career path after having an “epiphany” after his massive super loss.
“I’m no different to most people — I was blissfully ignorant about anything to do with my super,” he told news.com.au.
“I got a corporate job and was more focused on my career and family and everything else — super was out of sight, out of mind.
“I’m not one of those finance nerds who is constantly checking the share market or looking for 100 ways to get rich — I just wasn’t that sort of person.
“I was the average Australian worker who goes along their life and only wakes up a bit when they get a mortgage and have children. That’s when I thought, ‘OK, maybe I need to start paying attention’.”
Mr MacLeod said the super industry was now under increased scrutiny after the banking royal commission revealed super funds were putting commercial self-interest before member interests, while the Productivity Commission also uncovered the market failure of the default super sector.
Last month’s Productivity Commission report recommended revoking the licences of superannuation funds that persistently underperformed for eight years if they failed to improve their results within a year.
It also recommends Australians be given a list of the 10 best superannuation funds to choose from when they start a new job, which is expected to boost Australia’s retirement savings by $165,000.
And if the Federal Government adopts all the recommendations of the report into the $2.8 trillion sector, Aussie workers could reportedly retire with an extra $500,000 in superannuation.
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