There’s no argument amongst adviceproviders and regulators alike that financial advice needs to be moreaffordable and more accessible. Nor is there any argument that people who getfinancial advice generally make better decisions and have improved outcomes.
There also seems to be anexpectation across the industry that the Quality of Advice Review will deliverthe silver bullet to make this happen.
But Adrian Gervasoni, Executive Manager, Advice Solutions at Industry Fund Services (IFS) has adifferent view. “Yes, the relaxing ofthe regulatory environment will help us make greater inroads. But there’s nothing stopping us from doingadvice differently now - within the current regulatory framework, with ourexisting technology solutions, and with current adviser numbers.
It all starts with theservice model.”IFS is now the largest licensee and advice services provider tothe superannuation sector in Australia. Our partner funds between them have over 5.54m members and arecustodians of $460bn in members’ retirement savings1.
“It has long been ourambition to improve the outcomes for members of the funds that our advisersserve, and it’s something IFS has passionately advocated for in recent years.In mid-2020 we brought together a large group of partner-funds and industrystakeholders to consider the impact of the regulatory framework on our abilityto deliver affordable and accessible financial advice” Gervasoni said.
“With a single-minded focuson improving the way financial advice is delivered to ordinary Australians, weset about identifying issues requiring regulatory guidance and prioritisingareas for reform.”
“Most importantly,”Gervasoni explains, “we did this with an agenda of supporting the developmentof new models of service design that placed the consumer front and centre,without being constrained by legislation. Through this process we recognised wecan make a significant difference to the financial outcomes of members now. Wedon’t have to wait for that silver bullet, or magic widget that will deliver asolution.”
“We already have thetechnology, and we already have many of the tools. The question is whether wehave the right service model in place that will provide better decision supportto members and help them learn new habits – habits that will help them growtheir super balance during their working lives and help them spend theirsuperannuation savings with confidence in retirement.”
Gervasoni says “IFS has been doing a lot of work with some of our partner funds ininterrogating and re-building service models. We’ve identified what we see assix key areas that require absolute role clarity of jobs for the member andjobs for the super fund.
“We believe that how these tasks are carriedout and by whom will have the biggest impact on retirement outcomes formembers. So, it is essential that the tools and resources, already available tosuper funds such as statements, calculators, call centre resources, emailcampaigns and other communications are organised and focused single-mindedlyaround generating actions that support these outcomes.
This is the work that funds should do now and can do now.”
With millions of Australians expected to retire in the next decade, and the Retirement Income Covenant placing additional obligations on trustees to deliver an effective retirement income strategy, many funds are ramping up their advice services.
“We look forward to theresponsible and considered implementation of the final Quality of AdviceReview. We see it assisting in the design of service models that better allowadvice to be scaled. Put simply, a more flexible regulatory platform shouldallow superannuation funds to increase their risk appetite to test new ideas.However, IFS is not waiting for changes to be implemented” said Gervasoni.
“We believe that purposeful service design - not the regulatory framework - is the key to delivering consumeroutcomes.”
Read more about IFS’s partnership with Hostplus and Iress toprovide an education-led digital advice offer. It represents an important stepforward in making simple financial help accessible to more fund members.
Contact: Adrian Gervasoni, Executive Manager - Advice Solutions, Ph. M) 0407 058 497, E)firstname.lastname@example.org