What’s in a name? Setting your super up right the first time

Cara Brett 24 June 2013

After getting married and changing my name, I realised that I have a very interesting namesake, so I apologise if you were expecting a different type of blog and accidentally stumbled upon my highly exciting and very fast paced finance blog (FYI, just google Cara Brett if you were after something else, just a warning though, it is very much NSFW).

It did however get me thinking about what is in a name and why it is important to get it right from the start.

Most of us don’t really think too much about our super funds during our working years. It’s not until we get closer to retirement that we start thinking about our super money as a real tangible thing. At that stage you may have a couple of super funds floating around, or hopefully you have had enough forethought to keep it all together.

It’s likely that many of your super funds you wouldn’t have actively chosen during your career.

Instead, your employer would have opened up an account for you based on whoever their default provider is. Employers have the ability to open up an account for you if you don’t make an active decision about where you want your super money to go.

This means an account can potentially be opened on your behalf with incorrect details. I will give you an example…

Recently an account was opened for a woman called *Judith. When completing her employment documents, she entered her preferred name as Judy.

Unfortunately when the payroll department set up the super fund, they set it up with her preferred name, not her actual name. Judy contacted the super fund to rollover her fund from one account to another however the super fund denied her access as the names didn’t match.

So what do you do if your super fund has your personal information wrong?

The first step is to contact the call centre and ask them what their requirements are for fixing the error. Each super fund works differently and may have different rules for different types of accounts. They’ll let you know what you need to complete to change the details which may include:

  • A statutory declaration confirming you are who you say you are
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate
  • A certified copy of your driver’s licence
  • Evidence of your tax file number

In most instances, your super fund will have a copy of your tax file number and if these details match, they are able to change the personal information on file.

If you have any problems, you can make a complaint to the super fund’s complaints department where they have 90 days to respond. If they don’t adequately respond in this time, you can escalate the complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

Clearly these things can be changed, but you have to go the long way round to change the details, and usually they only avail themselves when you need to get access to the funds, or you need to get access to the information on the account.

So, the moral of today’s story is to get the name right in the first place otherwise you could end up with a messy super fund or reading the wrong blog!

I would love to hear if anyone else has any interesting namesakes…… try and top mine.

*name changed for privacy reasons

This post is from our resident Financial Planner Cara Brett, check out her details in the About Us section.

Posted in: Cara Brett, Superannuation

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.