Industry funds body, Industry Funds Services (IFS) is adopting a blank canvas, regulation-agnostic approach to how affordable advice can be delivered in an exercise that takes in a consulting group, consumer advocacy groups, financial services tech companies and superannuation funds.
And according to IFS chief executive, Cath Bowtell the final outcome will not necessarily be focused on extending the scope of intra-fund advice or general advice but might equally come up with a new design not constrained by the current regulatory guard-rails.
In a message to its industry funds constituents, IFS has declared: “We’re taking the shackles off, and are exploring a financial advice offer for super fund members that’s no longer constrained by ambiguous regulatory frameworks”.
In an interview with Money Management, Bowtell said that what IFS was trying to do was look at how it could rescope advice around what members needed and how it could be most effectively delivered if it were unaffected by the restraints imposed by the current regulatory regime.
“That’s the task, to look at the service that could be delivered in a regulatory agnostic environment with consumers and what they need at the forefront,” she said.
The IFS message to its constituents said that it would be “working with Right Lane Consulting, some well-known super funds, consumer advocacy groups, technology partners and research companies”.
“Our task is to look beyond today and identify how advice will need to be delivered in years to come. Most importantly, next steps will be to test new and innovative service models that cater to the large group of people who are unable to access the financial advice they need,” it said.
Bowtell said that it was too early to suggest what the outcome might ultimately be, but that the task was to design some models and see how things might look if the existing regulatory frameworks were not actually there and the process was beginning with a blank piece of paper.
The IFS-sponsored exercise comes at the same time as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s current “affordable advice review” and at the same time as the Government is pursuing the objective of more affordable advice.
Bowtell acknowledged the ASIC exercise but not that it would be working from the premise of the existing regulatory regime, while the IFS project was looking at a broader scope.