The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has again delivered superannuation funds a generally clean bill of health with respect to how they have been using intra-fund advice, even with respect to early release superannuation (ERS).
The regulator’s comparatively clean bill of health was delivered as part of its report on how superannuation funds supported members during COVID-19 in circumstances where it had reviewed intra-fund advice on early release and on insurance.
It said the ERS surveillance covered 27 trustees, and included 11 trustees that indicated they intended to rely on ASIC’s temporary no-action position on intra-fund advice related to the ERS, which was issued on 14 April 2020.
“The surveillance found that actual instances of advice provided under the no-action position were very limited. We did not identify any evidence of trustees inappropriately using intra-fund advice to discourage members from applying for the ERS,” ASIC said in the report.
It said that as part of checking the support trustees provided to members in relation to insurance issues, ASIC requested samples of insurance related intra-fund advice.
“Of the 18 files collected, eight were assessed as complying with the best interests’ duty and related obligations. The remaining files were assessed as non-compliant because of issues with procedures and record keeping. We did not identify any serious consumer detriment and the compliance rate was similar to the compliance rate identified in ASIC’s December 2019 Report 639 Financial advice by superannuation funds.”