Adrian Gervasoni

Critics worried about an expanded role for super funds in financial advice after the Quality of Advice Review overestimate the appetite most funds have for advice, according to an industry super movement executive.

The QAR sought to address the accessibility and affordability of advice, and while red tape reduction would reduce the cost of advice, Minister of Financial Services Stephen Jones has sought to give more freedom for super funds to give advice.

Adrian Gervasoni, the executive manager for advice solutions at Industry Fund Services, a licensee owned by 15 industry super funds, said the reality is not everyone in the advice industry wants to serve mass market nor should they have to.

“This focus on making advice accessible and affordable, I’m still looking for who really wants to solve for that,” Gervasoni said at the closing session of the Professional Planner Licensee Summit last month.

“There’s an expectation that super funds will,” Gervasoni said “I can tell you there’s a small number of them that are genuinely interested in it. The others will be brought in kicking and screaming.”

Gervasoni noted the cynicism some advisers have towards super funds, particularly industry funds, but said building relationships on both sides can generate more productive communication and less animosity.

“I find there’s more interesting conversations that goes on when you develop a bit of trust with someone one on one and particularly the firm I work for,” Gervasoni said.

He added he often fields “pointed questions” from these groups which he is happy to encourage and have the conversation.

“If there’s someone concerned with industry funds and how they provide advice, ask the question and pick up the phone and ring, don’t use the comment section in Money Management or other things to vent,” Gervasoni said.

“It might make you feel good for two minutes, but nothing actually comes of that. But genuinely, you should be cynical, you should be concerned – product manufacturers and advice have a unique relationship. It’s somewhat necessary but it’s also easily conflicted.”