From left: Chris Dastoor, Annika Bradley, Carson McNamara and Marisa Broome

While super funds attempt to broaden their relationships with financial advisers, the key item to improve is having a consistent standard between all disclosure documents.

In a panel discussion at the Professional Planner Researcher Forum in Sydney, Wealth Advice principal Marisa Broome said standardisation for fee consent and other disclosure documents between the funds is the most pressing issue advisers have with the profit-for-member funds.

“A big shout out to Ben Marshan [head of policy] at the FPA, when we could see the annual fee consent issue come into play he called out to all the big funds and said we need standardisation,” Broome, who was previously chair of the Financial Planning Association, said.

The FPA attempted to have super funds push back on fee consent implementation before the regime started and have continued to campaign for better standardisation.

The FPA and Financial Services Council paired up in 2017 to create guidance for advisers and product producers to manage customer due diligence obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Act.

Broome said this model was what should have happened during the implementation of the fee consent regime, but added no one else was interested at the time.

“When the former Federal Treasurer had to sign 32 pieces of paper to have fee consent put into place by one of my peers, he realised they had some real problems with standardisation of fee consent,” Broome said.

She added there needs to be more co-operation across the super funds, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia and the FSC to work together to get consistency across fee consent.

“When we first went through that fee cap/fee consent issue a lot of funds wanted to see that statement of advice to make sure the advice was appropriate until we [the FPA] pointed out to them that would make them a judge about whether advice was appropriate or not,” Broome said.

“They all run in the other direction once they realised they might have been liable for the advice.”

Qualitative information required

When it comes to data and research that advisers need, Broome said she has plenty of options for quantitative data but there is a pressing need for qualitative information.

“When I look at the research I am buying and making considered choices for my clients, I want to look at different qualitative data,” Broome said.

“That can be different from what the big players offer in the market; some are better than others.”