Anne Fuchs

Australian Retirement Trust views external planners as the primary vehicle for advice for the fund’s members.

During the fund’s annual adviser lunch in Sydney, ART head of advice Anne Fuchs said the fund does not believe it can service all its members internally.

“We value the partnership that we share with you enormously, we will never be providing comprehensive advice to our 2.2 million members, it will be impossible to do without scale,” Fuchs said.

The lunch also celebrated the anniversary between the merger of QSuper and Sunsuper, which happened a year ago and created the second largest super fund in Australia.

The fund is adding further scale with three other mergers being explored this year.

“Lots of our members have simple advice needs and we consult those over the phone, but a large percentage of our members have other assets outside of super and age pension needs – this is where you come in,” Fuchs said.

When it came to how the fund is continuing to expand the services it offers planners, Fuchs pointed to investment in the fund’s Adviser Online service which gives access to client information and investment research reports to advisers, as well the consolidated client reporting function which will soon be accessible.

“There will be more investment in advice because we need to make it easier for you to manage your client’s portfolios and accounts,” she said.

Fuchs noted the joint advocacy work the fund has done along with AustralianSuper, highlighting the intention both funds have to a strong voice to the regulators and government for the financial advice profession.

“We want to it to be easy and simple for you to be able to charge for your professional services to our members,” Fuchs said.

“Clarifying things like the sole purpose test will help enormously with that. We’ll continue to advocate for the profession because you do great work for our members.”

As part of the Sunsuper/QSuper merger, ART added advice fee caps including an initial fee cap of $1500 along with annual fees capped at 2.5 per cent or $8800 per annum.

The caps are highly conditional and factor in the member’s balance – the account must be above $25,000 and can’t drop below $6000 after fees.

Fuchs touted the benefits seen by women in the current advice fee regime.