Some financial planners are continuing to scrutinise the financial services guides (FSGs) being issued by industry funds and questioning why industry funds advisers appear to be treated differently.
The financial planners have pointed to the latest Financial Services Guide issued by UniSuper and claimed that it allows advisers employed by the fund to charge $205 an hour for advice provided over the phone while, by way of contrast, other advisers must provide all advice in writing and provide a Statement of Advice (SOA).
UniSuper has attracted the attention of advisers after announcing an upgrading of its advice business last month.
The planners appear to be referring to a part of the UniSuper FSG referring to “selection advice – personal” which states that a rate of up to $205 per hour (including GST).
It states that: “Scaled personal advice services on a few issues, are typically provided by our Financial Advisers at a cost ranging from $410 to $990 (including GST) depending on the scope of advice, whether we meet over the phone or face to face, and whether you implement yourself or seek our assistance with implementation.
“Any fee will be quoted and agreed before the scaled advice or services are provided. Where you require more comprehensive advice we will refer you to one of our Private Client Advisers”.
However, the UniSuper FSG then refers to “comprehensive advice” and states the typical fee for receiving comprehensive advice is between $2,500 and $6,000 and that a “higher fee might apply depending on the complexity of your situation and high value investments. Any fee will be quoted and agreed before advice or services are provided”.
UniSuper chief of financial advice, Jack McCartney said the suggestion that the fund did not provide written pesonal advice to clients was incorrect and that its advisers always provided a Statement of Advice when delivering personal advice.
"Scaled personal advice is provided by UniSuper under our 'Select Advice' service. We offer members the flexibility to choose between phone-based, video conference or face to face appointments (at our offices or on university campuses)," he said. "This makes personal advice readily accessible by catering to clients’ preferences. After the initial appointment is conducted, the adviser will document the recommended strategies in a Statement of Advice, and present this to the client in a subsequent presentation appointment. Last year we wrote and presented over 1,600 SOAs at an average advice fee of $520 per client."