WA super fund Westscheme will get the resources it needs to answer simple questions from members, under a proposal it is awaiting from financial planning partner, Industry Funds Financial Planning (IFFP).

WA super fund Westscheme will get the resources it needs to answer simple questions from members, under a proposal it is awaiting from financial planning partner, Industry Funds Financial Planning (IFFP). Westscheme needs the authority to issue limited statements of advice (SOAs) through its call centre, according to chief executive, Howard Rosario, instead of always having to refer members to a financial planner. “At the moment, our members ring up with a question about our allocated pension or investment choice, and we have to tell them to see a financial planner. A lot of our members just think we are fobbing them off – we offer these products and we should be able to answer simple questions about them,” Rosario said. However, it was too expensive for Westscheme to build the compliance framework necessary to issue limited SOAs, Rosario said. Earlier this year, he issued an appeal through Investment & Technology magazine for a partnership solution, prompting a response from the general manager of Industry Fund Services, David Haines. IFFP was now preparing a proposal whereby a nominated Westscheme staffer would be able to issue limited SOAs under IFFP’s licence. “The staff member would preferably have their DFP [Diploma of Financial Planning] and need to participate in our continuing education seminars,” Haines said. The right framework would also need to be built around the service, he added, such as ensuring that the questions asked of members gave an accurate picture of their financial situation. Rosario had earlier flagged that a small fee could be payable by members receiving a limited SOA. Haines said a similar service for providing limited SOAs was currently being extended to other funds among the 31 with which IFFP has a relationship.

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