ASFA senior policy officer Maggie Kaczmarska

Superannuation fund representative group ASFA will lobby regulators and policymakers for the use of records of advice to be extended to a specific set of questions commonly asked by members in relation to their super, regardless of whether the member is an existing advice client or not.

The association suggests a set of six questions including “How do I set up a pension account?” and “How much can I contribute into my superannuation?” that could more easily be answered in an RoA at a cost of $300 to $500, rather than a typical “$1,500 to $2,500” cost for an SoA.

According to ASFA senior policy officer Maggie Kaczmarska, the point is that members shouldn’t need to become full advice clients to receive relatively simple advice on superannuation.

“The model we’re proposing is [whereby] you don’t need to give an SoA before you give an RoA,” Kaczmarska tells Professional Planner. “We’re not saying all advice should be given via an RoA –  absolutely not, it’s not appropriate for that –  just some frequently asked questions.”

Kaczmarska acknowledges that some of the questions may be able to be answered under general advice by intra-fund advisers at no extra cost to the member.

“There are some questions that might overlap with intra-fund advice,’ she says, before pointing out that grey areas still exist around what is and isn’t general advice. “It’s a question of interpretation,” she adds.

When the question can’t be answered by general advisers there should be an option that sits between general and full advice, ASFA believes. “If it can be answered under general then that’s great,” she says.

ASFA members were notified of the policy direction in a notice sent out last week that proposed six changes aimed at improving productivity within super. The push for more RoA usage is one of those six policy points, written under the banner: “Making advice more accessible for members”.

While ASFA is a fund representative body, Kaczmarska said the association is “agnostic” about whether the advice in question comes from licensed financial advisers working for superannuation funds or those external to the superannuation machine.

“We didn’t really consider which advisers it covered,” she says. “We’re just focusing on the advice piece, this is geared towards member receiving advice.”

The push to increase the use of RoAs has some heavyweight support in Canberra; in June the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Jane Hume, highlighted ASIC’s April regulatory amendment allowing advisers to provide advice on early access to super under records of advice (ROA) as an example of the type of low cost, low compliance advice the industry should be looking to provide.

“There’s probably greater roles for ROAs and we’ve seen that,” Hume said. “SOAs are potentially too large and cumbersome and they’re not read by clients, there’s better ways of doing business.”