QSuper has pulled the pin on its comprehensive advice offering for new members in a move that reflects the challenging relationship industry funds have with the provision of personal advice.

QSuper’s decision to stop offering comprehensive advice comes on the heels comments made by Deanne Stewart, CEO of rival fund First State Super, in which she points to the significant cost associated with providing a service such as comprehensive or personal advice which is usually for a small group of members.

Funds need to be “really clear about how much it is ok for all members to wear versus when individual members pay,” Stewart said. First State Super paid more than $1 billion for  SAS Trustee Corporation Australia’s financial planning and retirement advice business StatePlus in mid-2016.

On Friday QSuper announced it planned to stop offering comprehensive advice to new members starting on Monday. The move was expected to lead to redundancies within the business.

Announcing the changes QSuper CEO Michael Pennisi said the decision is based on several years of data, member feedback and, “first and foremost, member needs.”

“We have increased the number of advisers available for over the phone personal advice appointments and we have expanded the topics relating to our superannuation products they can discuss with our members at no additional cost to them,” Pennisi said in a statement.

The QSuper statement added that the fund would continue to closely monitor the financial advice needs of its members and investigate ways to provide a range of advice services to members where it is in the best interests of the membership base to do so.

QSuper plans to push forward with its intra-fund advice strategy – the fund said has significantly expanded its fund specific advice, phone advice and personal financial advice.

QSuper had 80 advisers in its QInvest advice subsidiary in May this year, a reduction from 92 the previous year, according to Professional Planner’s 2020 Licensee Owners’ list.

 

Smith is head of content and managing editor of Professional Planner and Investment Magazine.
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