It's a Small World after All: Using Social Network Analysis to Investigate Systemic Risk in the Australian Superannuation Sector
Centre for Law, Markets and Regulation (CLMR) Research Paper Working Paper No. 1541
21 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 24, 2015
Australia’s superannuation (pension) sector is extraordinarily large by almost any measure. The system is the fourth largest in the world with assets under management exceeding $A2 trillion (€1.3 trillion). Approximately two thirds of the system ($A1.2 trillion) is managed in the large-scale intermediated superannuation funds that are the subject of this study. At one level, these funds appear to be functionally and financially independent of each other. However, they are linked by the common use of service providers. Indeed, the regulatory approach, for those entities that are actually regulated is to treat each of the service providers in separate silos.
This paper examines the effects of the service provider linkages using a network science approach. It demonstrates that social network analysis and network science theory can be used to describe the level of interconnectedness within the Australian superannuation sector. It shows that the system has some ‘small world’ characteristics and analyses the consequences of these characteristics. In particular, it concludes that a more holistic regulatory approach is required in order to be able to identify systemic risk, which is not apparent from the current silo-based analysis.
Keywords: systemic risk, social network analysis, superannuation, risk, pensions, contagion
JEL Classification: C63, D81, D89, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation