Super fund planners an academic mixed bag

Money Management Salary Survey education

22 April 2016
| By Staff |
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Growing numbers of planners hold a Post Graduate or Masters qualification, but those working in the superannuation sector are more likely not to have darkened the door of a university, the Money Management Salary Survey finds.

The latest data reported a five per cent increase in the number of planners holding either a Masters or Post Grad, since the 2015 survey was conducted in July of last year, with those working for aligned groups more likely to hold top tier academic qualifications (33 per cent) than those working for non-aligned practices (28 per cent).

Overall, female planners were more likely to hold a Masters (16 per cent) than their male colleagues (10 per cent), while one in five male respondents reported having a Post Grad, compared to 14 per cent of female respondents.

Sub super education

While the 2016 survey found that just 15 per cent of planners reported that their highest educational achievement was a Diploma in Financial Planning (DFP) or high school, the proportion of superannuation fund planners in that group was 44 per cent, with a further 15 per cent reporting they held an Advanced DFP.

Across the industry, 60 per cent of planners reported holding a Bachelor's degree (BA) or higher, but only 28 per cent of planners employed by superannuation funds said they had one, with a further 14 per cent claiming to hold a Masters.

Why worry about bank planners?

Despite concerns being raised over the education standards of planners working for retail banks, following scandals relating to groups owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Macquarie Bank, the survey found they had the highest level of academic achievement.

Data from the survey revealed 48 per cent of retail bank planners reported holding a Post Grad or Masters qualification, with a further 24 per cent saying they had a BA, while the remaining 28 per cent had at least a DFP.

Planners working for advisory and accounting practices were the most likely to report that an Advanced DFP was their highest academic achievement (28 and 29 per cent respectively).

Professional qualifications

Despite having the lowest levels of academic achievement, almost a quarter of planners working for super funds were the second most likely group to have received the Financial Planning Association of Australia's CFP designation, with 45 per cent of those working for accounting firms holding the qualification, the survey revealed.

In contrast, retail bank planners were the least likely group to have a CFP (nine per cent), while almost a quarter of those employed by a dealer group/advisory firm reported having the qualification.

Super fund planners were also the second most likely to be studying — or planning to — for a professional qualification (43 per cent), behind retail bank planners (52 per cent), with 38 per cent of advisory-based planners reporting they were looking to bolster their professional qualifications.

The survey found that just 14 per cent of accounting firm-based planners were studying for a professional qualification.

Perceived value

When it came to estimating their value, one in five planners who worked for super funds felt they should be paid more than $300,000 a year.

Data from the annual survey found just 10 per cent of planners across all employer types felt their salary should exceed $300,000, while 17 per cent of those employed by super funds said they were worth at least that much.

Planners employed by dealer groups or advisory firms were the second most likely to claim they should be paid more than $300,000 for performing their current role, with 12 per cent reporting they believed they were worth it, just three per cent more than those reporting their salary was already at that level.

While super fund planners aspire to earn top dollar for their current role, the sector's best paid planners reported salaries of less than $170,000.

Retail bank planners were somewhat more modest in their beliefs of how much they should be paid, with 19 per cent claiming they were worth between $250,000 and $300,000, but none dreaming of pay packets above that level.

Planners working for accounting firms reported the lowest self-evaluation of their worth, with no respondents in this group believing they were worth more than $250,000, and just 14 per cent said they deserved a salary of up to $249,999.

The high salary expectations of super planners contrasts with the survey's finding that as a group they had the lowest education levels across the industry, as previously reported.

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