Our office is open and we can meet with you online. Find out the best way for you to contact us.

We’re taking our service to the next level

January 19 2022

Our mission at ESSSuper is to help Victorian emergency services and state employees achieve their best possible retirement outcomes.

We are committed to providing exceptional education and advice services, over the phone, via video calls, and through online webinars. To further enhance the services we deliver, we're making changes to our systems and processes to make it even easier for you to manage your super online.

We have partnered with Iress (Financial Synergy Holdings Pty Ltd, ABN 66 126 127 197), to further improve the services we provide you.

This notice contains important information about the superannuation services we provide. It explains what is changing and how access to, and services for, your superannuation account(s) will be impacted, so please read the summary and additional details carefully. Different sections may be relevant to you depending on your type of account:

  • Lifetime and Disability Pensions: Please read sections 1, 2, and 6
  • ESSS Defined Benefit Fund: Please read sections 1, 2, and 6
  • Accumulation Plan and Beneficiary Account: Please read sections 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6
  • Income Streams: Please read all sections (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6)
  • New Scheme, Transport Scheme, SERB Scheme, Revised Scheme: Please read sections 1, 2, and 6.

There's a lot of information in this Significant Event Notice, so we've prepared some resources to help you get ready for these changes.

Supplementary information

The Significant Event Notice covers upcoming changes and their impacts, but we know there's other questions you may have or that you may need extra information. We've captured this and answers to frequently asked questions from members.

Find out more

Webinars

We're running webinars to help you learn more about what these changes mean for you now and into the future. Our experts will be covering topics such as the limited service period, digital changes, and other subjects contained in this notice.

Reserve your place now
 
 

A summary of the changes

1. A limited service period (LSP) will be in place from 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022 to mid-March 2022 while old systems are decommissioned and data is transferred to new systems. Please read below as some requests will be impacted differently.

Impact of this change: You will not be able to access your account through Members Online during this period. For approximately three weeks of the LSP, from the end of January to late-February 2022, the Fund will not be able to process transaction requests. This means processing of requests (including withdrawals, investment switches, and contributions) received after 5:00pm on Monday 24 January 2022 will be on hold. New Income Stream applications must be received by 5:00pm on Monday 17 January 2022. As standard, investment switch requests must be received by ESSSuper before the close of business on Thursday 20 January 2022 to be effective from Tuesday 1 February 2022. Contributions will be backdated to their correct effective dates when processing resumes. Please read part 1 of the 'Additional details you need to know' section for more information.

2. You will have access to a new and improved Members Online system:

  • Enhanced security using two-factor authentication (2FA) will better protect your personal information and super. If you are currently enrolled for Members Online, you will be prompted to reset your password, and provide us with your email address and/or mobile phone number if we don't already have these on record.
  • Verify your identity securely and conveniently for particular online requests, instead of requiring certified ID sent through the post.
  • You will be able to make changes online, instead of submitting printed forms, making it quicker and easier for you to get things done.
  • If printed forms are required, they can be downloaded with your details prepopulated so you don't need to rewrite information we already have on file.
  • Income Stream and Beneficiary Account information previously provided via quarterly statements will be available at any time and you will be able to easily update your bank account details, pension amounts, and payment schedules online.
  • To take advantage of the new Members Online features via our mobile app, you'll need to download the updated version of the app when it's available in March 2022.

3. When processing of Income Stream payments resumes after the LSP, you will not be able to request a partial or full withdrawal from your Income Stream account in the four days before your regular payment. Your request will be processed after you receive your regular payment.

Impact of this change: The restriction is not related to the LSP, and will be ongoing. Partial and full Income Stream withdrawal requests will not be processed in this four-day period, and you won't be able to make the request through Members Online. The restriction is in place to ensure you don't overdraw your Income Stream account. This change does not impact lifetime or disability pensions. Please read part 3 of the 'Additional details you need to know' section for more information.

4. The introduction of daily unit pricing from Tuesday 1 February 2022 will give you more flexibility over Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream investment options and switches.

Impact of this change: Unitised investment options means earnings or losses will be calculated daily and applied the next business day via the unit price. You will be able to change your investment option more frequently and investment switches will be effective sooner. Please read part 4 of the 'Additional details you need to know' section for more information.

5. Fees and insurance premiums will be deducted monthly for Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream accounts.

Impact of this change: The way we calculate your insurance premiums won't be impacted; they will simply be debited from your super balance more frequently. Administration fees will continue to be calculated on your end of month balance but will be deducted monthly, not annually, from your account. Please read part 5 of the 'Additional details you need to know' section for more information.

6. All correspondence will be sent to you digitally from March 2022 (when the new Members Online system is in place). This means that you will receive an email or SMS notifying you that correspondence is available for viewing by logging into your Members Online account, unless you choose to change your preference to 'mail'.

Impact of this change: If we have your email address or mobile phone number on file, you will receive emails or text messages instead of letters. Please read part 6 of the 'Additional details you need to know' section for more information.

What these changes mean for you

We're making these important changes to give you better access to your super into the future.

Your account will be automatically moved to our new systems. Your member number, personal information, and investments will remain the same, including any insurance cover details, beneficiaries, adviser authorities and third-party arrangements (such as a power of attorney, if applicable).

What do you need to do?

Please plan ahead – are there any changes you need to make to your membership details before Monday 24 January 2022?

Ensure you have enough information to understand the impacts the LSP may have on you.

If you currently use Members Online, you will need to create a new password when the new system becomes available in March 2022. This won't require you to re-register, but will require two-factor authentication with a one-time PIN sent to your mobile phone as a text message (SMS) or to your email address to securely access your account.

If you don't currently use Members Online but would like to access the new system, you will need to provide your mobile phone number and/or email address if we don't already have them. You can do this by registering through the current Members Online system or by calling us.

If you want to nominate your communication preference to be set as 'mail', you can only do this from March 2022 and you may receive email or SMS messages from us in the meantime.

What happens next?

Key dates are:

  • Monday 22 November 2021 – We've notified you of the changes. Further information is available: please refer to the top of this web page for details.
  • Monday 24 January 2022 – The LSP starts and the current Members Online system will be unavailable.
  • Tuesday 1 February 2022 – Daily unit pricing commences for Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream accounts.
  • Late February 2022 – Processing of requests will resume.
  • From March 2022 – You'll be able to access the new and improved Members Online platform. Additional and specific details (e.g. when our new Members Online system will be available) will be published on the ESSSuper website closer to the time.

Additional details you need to know

1. Limited service period (LSP)

From 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022 until mid-March 2022, there will be some scheduled disruptions to our regular services while we transition to our new systems. During this time, there will be delays to processing transactions and you will not have access to your account in Members Online.

1.1 Delays to processing requests

To avoid processing delays, please ensure all requests, including new pension applications, reach us no later than 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022. We may not be able to process requests received after this time until mid-March 2022.

New Income Stream applications must be received by 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 17 January 2022 to avoid potential delays during the LSP. If additional information is required to set up your pension or Income Stream, we will notify you before the end of January 2022, so your request can be completed when processing resumes.

Your current Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and/or Income Stream account (s) will remain invested in the investment options current at the start of the LSP.

Transaction type Transaction date applied

'Money in'

Including employer and personal contributions and transfers in from other funds.

Contributions and transfers in received after Monday 24 January 2022 will be accepted, however there will be delays before the amounts are credited to your account.

For Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream accounts, your 'money in' will be invested into your chosen investment option(s) at the unit price(s) that was applicable on the date your money was received, regardless of potential processing delays.

For example, if a salary sacrifice contribution is received Friday 4 February 2022 and processed on Monday 14 March 2022, it will receive the value effective Friday 4 February 2022.

'Money out'

Including rollovers out, benefit payments, and lump sum payments for claims.

We will not be able to act on instructions to make payments for requests received after 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022 until full service capability is available. Payments will not be made during the LSP, however existing benefits will continue to be invested until payment requests can be processed. For Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream accounts, money out requests will remain in your chosen investment option(s) until your request is processed.

The unit price(s) applicable to your chosen investment option(s) will be the effective price(s) on the date the money out transaction is processed.

For example, if a withdrawal request received Friday 4 February 2022 is processed on Monday 14 March 2022, it will receive the unit price(s) effective for Monday 14 March 2022.

Switch requests

As per current arrangements, requests to change your investment option choice for your existing account balance(s) must be received by ESSSuper before close of business on Thursday 20 January 2022. These investment switches will be processed using the final crediting rate applicable to January 2022. Switch requests received after this date will receive the unit price(s) applicable on the date your request is processed.

Note to teachers or other defined benefit members: Please refer to the ‘Money out’ section of the previous table if you plan to resign, retire, or make a claim for your benefit entitlements during the LSP.

By mid-March 2022, we expect the backlog of requests received during the LSP to be processed and all new requests to be processed within standard timeframes. When our new systems (e.g. Members Online) are in place, we'll send notifications to members confirming any requests that have been processed. Please refer to the ESSSuper website in mid-March 2022 for details of the date processing will resume.

1.2 Regular Income Stream and pension payments

Regular payments for Income Streams and pensions due throughout the LSP will not be impacted by the LSP. Regular payments will be made on the scheduled dates, however we will not be able to service requests for ad hoc payments, known as commutations, during the LSP.

Any requests to change your Income Stream or pension payments must be received by ESSSuper before 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022, or they will not be processed until after March 2022.

1.3 Members Online access

The current version of Members Online will be permanently closed from 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022. This means you will not be able to access your Members Online account (e.g. personal information, account balance, etc.) or submit requests (e.g. changing your insurance, investment options, or beneficiary details) online during the LSP.

A new Members Online system will be available from March 2022. Please look for the launch date closer to March 2022, on the ESSSuper website.

1.4 We're here for you (but with limited capabilities)

During the LSP, ESSSuper will have limited access to systems and changes cannot be made to your individual account. Our Member Service Centre will be available as usual, but will not have access to updated account details. Financial advice* activities and member education appointments will be temporarily impacted, and we encourage you to make an appointment before Monday 24 January 2022 if you need to meet with us one-on-one. If no appointments are available, we will be pleased to make an appointment for you from March 2022.

2. An enhanced Members Online

We've been working hard to improve the facilities available to you through Members Online. The new system will look similar to the current Members Online but has many enhancements, as outlined below.

2.1 Improved online security with a new authentication process

Creating a new password to use the new Members Online for the first time (or changing it in future) will require two-factor authentication. This is an important security feature that helps protect you and your super from fraudulent activity. It means we will send a one-time verification code to:

  • Your mobile phone number, or
  • Your email address if you don't have a mobile phone number on file.

Once you have changed your password, you won't need to go through the two-factor authentication process each time you log into Members Online. It will, however, apply to significant requests within Members Online, such as changing Income Stream payment amounts or frequency.

If we don't have your mobile phone number or email address on file, you can provide your email address through the current Members Online system prior to 5:00pm (Melbourne time) on Monday 24 January 2022, or by contacting us. You can also update all your contact details through the new Members Online available from March 2022.

2.2 Verifying your identity through Members Online

ESSSuper is required to check your identity before processing certain requests, such as benefit payments/withdrawals from your super.

Electronic verification through Members Online allows us to confirm your identity by using electronic tools and external data sources. From March 2022, online electronic verification will replace the hassle of posting certified copies of your proof of ID documents (in most cases) and can be used as a fast and secure way to:

  • Update your bank account details
  • Consolidate your super from other super funds, and
  • Open an Income Stream account.

2.3 Ability to submit more requests online

To improve your online experience, you'll be able to lodge some additional requests instantly, instead of having to submit paper-based forms. These include:

  • Renewing binding death benefit nomination details (available for Accumulation Plan, ESSS Defined Benefit Fund, Income Streams, New Scheme, and Transport Scheme members not on a disability pension)
  • Adding, updating, or removing non-binding death benefit nomination details
  • Lodging or varying a Notice of Intent to claim a tax deduction
  • Adding a reversionary beneficiary (if one is not held) on your Income Stream account
  • Changing Income Stream payment amounts and/or payment frequency
  • Notifying your new/additional employer to pay contributions to your Accumulation Plan
  • Adding a Third Party Authority
  • Contribution rate changes (available for defined benefit members only).

Important note: You will no longer be able to submit these transactions via paper-based forms after Monday 24 January 2022.

2.4 Forms are available through Members Online

Forms for common requests will be available by logging into Members Online and will no longer be accessible from ESSSuper's public website. These forms will be prepopulated with your details, so all you need to do is download, complete and return them by email or post.

Forms that will be prepopulated include:

  • Binding death benefit nomination (available for Accumulation Plan, ESSS Defined Benefit Fund, Income Streams, New Scheme, and Transport Scheme members not on a disability pension)
  • Variation of insurance cover (available for Accumulation Plan members only), and
  • Defined benefit claims (e.g. retirement, resignation, and retrenchment).

2.5 Easily update Income Streams

Through the new Members Online, you'll be able to update your Income Stream preferences:

  • Bank account details (electronic verification of your identity may be required each 12 months), and
  • Pension amounts and payment schedule (two-factor authentication required).

Income Stream (and Beneficiary Account) information previously provided via quarterly statements is available at any time. This means you don't need to wait for your account information, and quarterly statements will no longer be sent. We'll still send your Annual Benefit Statement.

2.6 Download the new mobile app

You can still use the current mobile app until Monday 24 January 2022. From mid-March 2022, you'll need to download an updated version of the mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. This improved mobile app will give you access to the new features of Members Online. Please refer to the ESSSuper website in mid-March 2022 for details of when the new Members Online system will be available.

3. Withdrawals delayed before regular Income Stream payments

Ad hoc partial and full withdrawal requests received within four business days before a regular Income Stream payment will not be processed until the regular payments have been processed.

For example, if your regular fortnightly payment is due on Thursday 12 May 2022, you will not be able to request a partial or full withdrawal (commutation) on or after Friday 6 May 2022. Requests received during this time will be processed after your regular payment is made.

This change:

  • Is not related to the limited service period, and will be effective from March 2022 when full services resume
  • Will be in place to avoid amounts larger than the available balance being paid out, and
  • Does not impact lifetime or disability pensions.

All regular payments will continue to be paid according to the current schedule. You should still expect fortnightly payments every second Thursday and all other payment frequencies will continue to be due on the 28th day of the relevant month (or the previous business day if that is a weekend). Pay day calendars are available on the Publications page of our website.

4. Moving from crediting rates to unit prices for Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream investments

From Tuesday 1 February 2022, investment earnings will be applied to Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream investment options through daily unit prices. We will no longer apply a monthly crediting rate to your investment option(s).

These changes do not apply to defined benefit accounts or the Lump Sum Account.

ESSSuper is doing this because it will:

  • Give you greater flexibility to switch between investment options on a daily basis, and
  • Enable valuation of your account to be calculated quickly and easily.

A unit price for each of our nine investment options will be calculated and published on our website daily, except on weekends and on national and Victorian public holidays.

4.1 Unit pricing

As investment markets fluctuate on a daily basis, the total market value of the assets in each investment option changes. The unit prices for each investment option will be calculated daily, net of fees, costs and taxes (if applicable), and applied the next business day.

ESSSuper does not have a buy/sell spread for the unit prices in our investment options. The current unit price for each investment is the unit price you would receive if you bought or sold units in that investment on that day. You can change investment options at any time and not incur a buy/sell spread.

4.2 Quicker investment switching

Under the current arrangements, members with an Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account and/or Income Stream account can request an investment switch for their existing account balances at any time. However, these requests are processed and take effect monthly.

Under the new arrangements, switching requests for Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream accounts will be processed daily when full services resume in mid-March 2022. You will be able to change your investment option(s) for your existing account balance and it will apply on the next Victorian business day. Please refer to the ESSSuper website in mid-March 2022 for details of the date you'll be able to switch investment options.

When the new Members Online system is available from March 2022, you will be able to change your investment option(s) by selecting the Investments section (in the left-hand menu). Investment switch requests must be successfully received by 11:00am (Melbourne time) to take effect on the following Victorian business day using the unit price calculated at the close of business for that business day. Your investment switch will generally be visible in Members Online three business days after your request is received.

Switch requests received after 11:00am (Melbourne time) on weekends or national and Victorian public holidays will be regarded as being received on the next business day. The change will be processed using the unit price calculated at the close of business the following Victorian business day.

4.3 Transitioning your current super balance

From Tuesday 1 February 2022, all existing members with an Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and/or Income Stream account, will have their account balance, including earnings based on the final crediting rate for January 2022, converted to units. All Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Stream account investment options will commence on Tuesday 1 February 2022 with a unit price of $1.00 and your Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account and/or Income Stream account will be issued with a number of units equivalent to the closing investment option(s) balance on Monday 31 January 2022.

After Monday 31 January 2022, the number of units in your investment option(s) will not change unless there is a transaction (e.g. contribution, withdrawal, etc.). As unit prices change (i.e. increase or decrease) in line with the value of the underlying asset classes, your investment option(s) will increase or decrease in value.

5. Fees and insurance premiums will be deducted monthly (Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Streams)

Effective from February 2022, the frequency of the deduction of insurance premiums (costs) for Accumulation Plan insurance cover will change:

From:

  • On your birthday and at the end of each financial year

To:

  • Monthly (in arrears at the end of each month).

The total annual premium of your Accumulation Plan insurance cover will not be impacted by the change in the deduction frequency. As is currently the case, if your account balance isn't enough to cover two months' premiums, your insurance cover will cease, but we'll notify you if you're at risk of that happening.

Effective from Tuesday 1 February 2022, administration fees on Accumulation Plan, Beneficiary Account, and Income Streams will be calculated on your end of month balance and deducted monthly from your account. Contributions tax will be deducted at the rate of 15% on receipt of contributions.

Clarification of disclosure about tax on contributions: In the Accumulation Plan Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), there is a statement on page 6 regarding the deduction of contributions tax which requires clarification. The same statement appears in the How super is taxed guide (AP.4) on page 2. It states that contributions tax is deducted from your account as at 30 June each year (and on closure of your account). This might indicate to members that the tax is calculated after insurance premiums and administration fees have been deducted from your account. This was correct in the period before 1 July 2019 where the benefit of a tax deduction was provided to contributing members in relation to insurance premiums and administration costs. However since 1 July 2019, contributions tax is calculated without deducting administration fees and insurance premiums (i.e. it is calculated on all concessional contributions received) and, as is correctly disclosed on page 5 of the PDS, a tax deduction is claimed for the administration costs each year.

6. We're moving to digital communications

All correspondence will be sent to you digitally from March 2022 (when the new Members Online system is in place). This means if we have your email address or mobile phone number on file, we'll send you an email or SMS instead of a letter. These methods of communication are faster, more convenient, and make it easier for you to connect with us. Digital communication also means a more environmentally friendly way to get information to you.

For administrative correspondence, the email or SMS will direct you to log into Members Online to see the full details.

We're here to help

You don't need to do anything right now. However, there's a lot of information in this notice, so we encourage you to review it carefully to be ready for these changes. Please refer to the ESSSuper website in mid-March 2022 for additional and specific details (e.g. when our new Members Online system will be available).

Supplementary information and answers to frequently asked questions are available to read and download. Find out more

We will be running webinars to help you learn more about what these changes mean for you now and into the future. Our experts will be covering topics such as the limited service period, digital changes, and other subjects contained in this notice. Reserve your place now

If you have any questions, please contact us via email at info@esssuper.com.au

Warm regards

Mark Puli
Chief Executive Officer

 


Emergency Services Superannuation Board (ABN 28 161 296 741) (ESSB), the Trustee of the Emergency Services Superannuation Scheme (ABN 85 894 637 037)  (ESSSuper).

* ESSSuper Financial Advisers are authorised representatives of Link Advice Pty Ltd (Link Advice). Link Advice holds a current Australian Financial Services Licence No. 258145 and is responsible for the financial services provided to you. ESSSuper has an arrangement with Link Advice Pty Ltd to provide financial advice to ESSSuper members. ESSSuper pays Link Advice a fee for this service. Neither the Board, nor the Victorian Government, guarantee or endorse any recommendations made by Link Advice, or are responsible for the advice and actions of Link Advice. Investment returns cannot be guaranteed as investment markets can be volatile. As a consequence, returns can be positive or negative. Past investment performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Benefits in ESSSuper’s Accumulation Plan, Income Streams and Beneficiary Account products are not guaranteed or underwritten by the Victorian Government or ESSSuper, and ESSSuper does not come under the jurisdiction of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

Normal terms and conditions and waiting periods apply. The information contained in this document is of a general nature only. It should not be considered as a substitute for reading ESSSuper's Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that contains detailed information about ESSSuper products, services and features. Before making a decision about an ESSSuper product, you should consider the appropriateness of the product to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. It may also be beneficial to seek professional advice from a licensed financial planner or adviser. An ESSSuper PDS is available at esssuper.com.au/pds or by calling 1300 650 161.