Steven O’Donoghue

Brighter Super has ended legacy arrangements preventing financial advisers from charging fees to client super accounts.

The fund is the result of a re-brand and merger between industry funds LGIAsuper and Energy Super, which further acquired the retail Suncorp SPSL Master Trust.

The fund’s head of advice, Steven O’Donoghue, tells Professional Planner the fund is using that integrated retail fund knowledge to improve its service to the advice community.

“Any of our 260,000 members will be able to have an external member charge a fee,” O’Donoghue says. “They’ve got to register with us, and we have to vet them, like a normal registration process.”

There is currently a 2 per cent cap for ongoing service fees based on the member’s account balance, but O’Donoghue says the fund is “exploring that”.

“The challenge for external advisers or advisers in general is they know their regulatory environment via ASIC, but under APRA, super funds have their own sole purpose test expectations,” O’Donoghue says.

“That’s where a lot of those fee caps come in. We’re trying to be an easy-to-deal-with industry fund, but this is all new for Brighter Super.”

Re-investment into the advice business is part of the completion of the merger process.

“We’re not trying to be a retail fund, but we’re not trying to be an industry fund,” O’Donoghue says. “We’re trying to be in-between.”

O’Donoghue says the combined fund has all the bells and whistles a retail fund typically has, like advice portals, data feeds and the ability for advice fees to be debited.

“But we’re doing it as an industry fund,” O’Donoghue says. “A lot of the other industry funds… some of them aren’t investing in this at all and others are to various different degrees. We think we’re unique because we’ve done this within a nine-month period; we haven’t taken years to do it.”

O’Donoghue says wants to the fund to be advice-led, in respect to the fact members will choose to either get advice internally or externally.

If a member does go the external route, O’Donoghue says the fund wants to make sure that relationship is respected.

“If an existing member calls up, we will refer that member back to their existing listed adviser like a retail fund would,” O’Donoghue says.