This is branded content for Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.
The topic of superannuation is a common point of discussion these days, but 100 years ago when one of Australia's first super funds started out it was a different story.
As the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) celebrates its milestone century this year Australians have more than $3 trillion in superannuation assets.
At its inception in 1922, as the Government-owned 1922 Scheme, the CSC had just 26,876 customers and after its first year of operation had 299 pensioners.
Today, the fund that serves Australian Government employees and Australian Defence Force Personnel has a national customer base of 733,000 including 132,600 in Canberra, where CSC has been headquartered since 1930.
One of the longest, continuously operating super funds in Australia, CSC now has $58 billion currently under management, and 245,000 pensioners.
"This is a significant year for us," said CSC chief executive officer Damian Hill. "We're proud of what we've been able to achieve over these 100 years and continue to achieve for our customers.
"From small beginnings when the idea of superannuation was a very new one we've continued to evolve and find more ways to better support those people who serve us - our public servants, defence force and veteran communities - so they can enjoy the retirement they deserve."
While this year CSC is planning to celebrate its history as a leader and innovator in the way super funds operate and support their customers, it's also looking to the future.
A more than 20-year veteran of the superannuation industry in Australia, Mr Hill joined CSC in July 2020, and with his team is now almost two years into a five-year program aimed at delivering better service to its unique group of customers, meeting their changing needs throughout their lifetime.
Aptly, as one of Australia's first government agencies to launch a website - back in 1990 - it's investing heavily in a large digital transformation project including system upgrades and innovations to make it easier for customers to interact.
"Our whole focus is very customer-centric and driven by what our customers are telling us about how we can best help them," Mr Hill said. "Everything we do is really about putting the customer at the core.
"We want to make it as simple and streamlined as possible for them to interact and to ensure they have access to all the information they need at the right time and the right format."
An example of how CSC listens to its customers and then tailors its offering to meet their needs is the change it made to how it delivers information about the progress of an individual's super benefit.
Instead of just showing a lump sum, CSC breaks it down into the income the customer would receive each week, allowing them to more easily understand their financial reality in retirement.
"Our customers told us they wanted more precise information that was easy to understand and that would help them plan ahead," said Mr Hill.
One of the big changes in super funds over the past few years has been the broader role they can play in their customers' lives.
Gone are the days when leading super funds in the market would simply manage superannuation funds. CSC's care for its customers extends beyond superannuation assistance and includes financial literacy, education and advice, and a range of information services to support veterans transitioning out of the defence force. Increasingly, the support also includes products and services to help customers once they have retired.
"CSC is unique in nature because of our customer base," Mr Hill said.
"We look after Australian Government employees and Defence Force personnel and have a very deep understanding of their needs. And we have one of the largest payrolls of any provider - we have around 250,000 pensioners at this stage and our oldest customer is 109 years old. We hold our customers for a lot longer than the typical superannuation fund and we want to make sure we provide the support and information they need at every stage of their life."
CSC's specially-targeted initiatives include its Vets Hub program, which supports veterans and their families with information about financial health and wellbeing, as well as its 3rd Act Community program, specifically designed for retirees to provide information and support to assist customers to navigate some of the challenges in that stage of their lives, including the complex area of aged care.
"During CSC's 100 years of service and through the many changes we've been through we've always strived for and demonstrated fiduciary excellence, innovative investment prowess and robust governance to make sure we protect our customers' nest eggs," said Mr Hill.
"We're looking forward to another 100 years of achievements with our goals of delivering the best retirement outcomes and meeting our customers' needs over their entire work-life journey."
Learn more about the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation at www.csc.gov.au
This is branded content for the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.