Darren Steinhardt posing with the app.

Infocus believes it has developed the solution to simplify the fee consent conundrum after developing an app that will work across all trustees and product manufacturers.

Fee consent was introduced in July 2021 following a recommendation from the Hayne royal commission and requires advisers to obtain written consent to deduct ongoing fees from each product.

Infocus founder and managing director Darren Steinhardt spoke to numerous trustees and product providers with the feedback being the variation of fee consent forms was due to the specific legal advice given to the manufacturer.

“What product providers have already done is spend millions on building their fee consent digital interface,” Steinhardt tells Professional Planner.

“You were never going to get to the point where there was a single common form that everyone completes.”

Instead of trying to get each manufacturer to provide a consistent form that will require them to spend “another truck load of money”, Steinhardt worked on this alternative.

“They built their back ends for a specific purpose so let’s let them keep what they’ve got,” Steinhardt says.

The Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones has expressed willingness to accept the Quality of Advice Review proposal which would simplify the fee consent regime to rely on a single prescribed form, but Steinhardt says this will not impact the value of the app.

“It’s not a fee consent solution, that’s just what we’re using it for,” Steinhardt says.

“It’s a digital signatory solution that feeds into a CRM and into product which means we can then put application forms and all the other documentation that advisers every day are using to approve things.”

The app has the backing of all major platform providers including MyNorth, Insignia Financial and Netwealth.

“We’re speaking to as many product providers as we can, so we can obtain support for the app from all major platform providers, including the likes of CFS, MyNorth, Insignia Financial and Netwealth,” Steinhardt says.

The managing director of Netwealth, Matt Heine, noted last year that product providers had been on the backfoot adapting to the fee consent regime requirements.

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