A number of financial advisers have questioned why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) should not take a close look at the manner in which Queensland superannuation fund QSuper has been providing financial advice.
The questioning comes in the wake of the superannuation fund confirming to Money Management that it would cease offering comprehensive advice to new clients following a review that found that demand for comprehensive advice was decreasing.
The financial planners are questioning whether QSuper is simply shifting to a lower cost intra-fund advice model, something should warrant scrutiny by the regulator.
On Friday, a QSuper spokesman acknowledged job losses flowing from the decision, with 23 paraplanning related roles being made redundant from the end of August and 32 other support roles being affected by October.
The spokesperson said existing comprehensive advice clients would be able to continue using the service for the remainder of their current agreement and would be provided assistance to ensure their advice needs were met in the future.
QSuper chief executive, Michael Pennisi said a review undertaken by the fund had seen it significant expand “the personal, over the phone financial advice service available to members which is provided at no additional cost to the member”.
“The expanded service provides advice on topics including establishing an account-based pension; commencing a Transition to Retirement strategy; and advice related to retirement income projections.
“Since we expanded our over the phone personal financial advice service, we have seen a 35% increase in demand for the service. This change has made personal financial advice more affordable and accessible for our members in the current environment.”
Pennisi noted that the fund had increased the number of advisers available for over the phone personal advice appointments and had expanded topics related to its super products members could discuss.