Super funds eye intra-fund advice shake-up

The superannuation industry has its sights on lifting restrictions around intra-fund advice, the Conference of Major Super Funds has heard.

Speaking on a panel discussing the future of advice in superannuation, Industry Funds Services (IFS) chief executive Cath Bowtell said it's high time the industry comes together to overhaul the outdated rules behind intra-fund advice.

IFS is currently participating in a working group with Industry Superannuation Australia and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees to "prosecute the case" for the expanded definition of intra-fund advice, Bowtell said.

Intra-fund advice rules were developed at a different time and environment and it's time to push the changes ahead with the regulators and policymakers, she said.

Hostplus head of advice and financial planning Maurizio Lombardi said intra-fund advice is a highly debated topic because it's too restrictive.

If it doesn't expand, it would be difficult for super funds and financial advisers not to go down the general advice path, he said, pointing out that many members will not seek or pay for personal advice.

Bowtell said the discussion is still in its infancy and it has been somewhat challenging to agree on what those changes will look like.

IFS works with about 13 super funds, providing scaled, intra-fund or comprehensive advice.

"I don't think there is a fund that we work with that would say, 'we have a gold standard advice model.'"

Most funds are reviewing their advice model or intend to do so, she said, adding that in five years' time super funds will not have the same models that are operating today.

Corporate watchdog ASIC is also conducting a review of superannuation advice.

It will be looking at in-house product bias and the extent to which advisers are "willing to recommend products other than their own."

Otherwise superannuation will end up like the banks and AMP, Bowtell said.

Read more: IFSConference of Major Super FundsAustralian Institute of Superannuation TrusteesCath BowtellIndustry Funds ServicesIndustry Superannuation AustraliaMaurizio Lombardi
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