We knew we could do better – 6 ways Verve serves women

by Verve

Women face an uphill battle when it comes to saving sufficiently for a comfortable retirement. On average we are retiring with 37% less super than men (ABS, Sept 2018). Yet, we are less likely to seek out financial advice, in part because we collectively distrust our financial service providers more than any other industry —the Banking Royal Commission has proven why.

Men lead 93% of financial service companies and ‘gender neutral services’ developed by the industry often fail to understand and meet the needs of women. As a result, women are too often poorly served and disengaged.

We knew we could do better.

Prior to launching Verve, we surveyed hundreds of Australian women like you (women of colour; women with disabilities; financially wealthy women and less financially wealthy; university educated and life educated; old and young). We asked women what they wanted from a financial service provider and Verve was designed from these voices.

Here are some of the ways we serve women better:

1. Our services are tailored for women, and delivered by women

From our financial coaching resources and workshops, to the wonderful women who answer our member calls, we tailor everything for women and we ensure that our services are delivered by women. This includes offering to contact the employers of our members when they go on parental leave, to request that the employer continues to pay super. Here’s a quote from a member, which shows why this matters:

“Thank you so much team Verve. I called yesterday and spoke to Alex. I was worried that my questions about super were silly and stupid, but she was so supportive, and made me feel completely at ease. I tend to manage the finances for my family, but when we last spoke to our adviser every answer was directed to my husband. With Verve, I feel listened to and respected — that’s a first for any bank or superfund I’ve ever called” — Lisa, member since December 2018

2. We are changing the game when it comes to ethical investing

We were the first Australian super fund to launch and declare that it will not invest in companies without a woman on the Board of Directors. Over a five month period we worked with our Fund Manager (Future Super Investment Services), and our ETF providers (Beta Shares), to ensure that their ethical portfolios of these funds also took this stance. This included writing to dozens of companies across the globe to ask them to put a woman on their Board.

As a result, not only does Verve not invest in companies with no women on the Board, but we also supported the industry to shift close to $1 billion away from these companies through Beta Shares’ two ethical ETFs!

In addition, we also work hard to ensure that we have one of the tightest screens available to ensure that the companies we invest in do not commit human rights abuses against women, or any workers in their supply chains.

3. Our fees are fair, transparent and structured for the lives of women

Our superannuation fund product is ethical and is invested with a balanced-growth strategy. Our fees are fair and comparable to the responsible options of leading industry funds; you can review fee information here.

To support members entering the workforce and receiving super for the first time, or members who have withdrawn the bulk of their super due to hardship, Verve ensures that the dollar-based administration fees are not charged when a member’s balance is lower than $5,000 to avoid erosion of small balances.

We offer a Baby Bump fee rebate for Verve Super members of any gender who have recently become new parents, whether by birth or adoption, it’s a small way we try to reduce the super gap caused by women taking time out of the workforce to have children. Read more here.

4. We provide free financial coaching and guidance

All members have access to Verve’s flagship online ‘6 Step Money & Mindset Program’ through the Verve Academy. We offer free online webinars and regular meet-ups and financial workshops for our members.

Our coaching programs are delivered by Verve Co-Founder Zoe Lamont, an award winning financial coach. Zoe is also available online each week to answer your money questions.

All of our coaching is informed by what our members want to learn so keep an eye out for our newsletter so you can have your say about what’s coming up next.

5. We support women to take individual action to make super fairer in their own lives, while we advocate collectively for a fairer system

We support women to take action to make superannuation fairer in their own lives; if you’re going on parental leave, we can contact your employer for you to ask them to keep paying you super, or provide you with the resources to do so yourself.

We also support you to make super fair in your own relationship by contribution splitting and additional personal contributions as easy as possible. Contact us at hello@vervesuper.com.au for any support.

At the same time, we work with dozens of women’s organisations, and organisations which support women to make superannuation and our financial system fairer for women.  Verve is an active member of the Financial Inclusion Action Plan network and Economic Security 4 Women.

6. We are real women, and we love serving our members

We know that most women want to be served by people who care, not robots. We love talking to our members and anyone who is interested in Verve. You can call us on 1300 799 482 or send us an email to hello@vervevuper.com.au. We are genuinely concerned about the financial knowledge and wellbeing of our members. Every question is an opportunity to share knowledge and build the wealth of our community!

Our team work flexibly juggling, work, care and spending time with loved ones, so we close our phone lines on Fridays. You can call us Monday through to Thursday or email anytime.

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