The $28 billion Australian Super is considering its options for providing financial advice to members, including employing salaried financial planners, as part of a project launched in response to ASIC’s simple advice relief.

Ian Silk, chief executive officer at Australian Super, confirmed a project was underway that would look at the “whole spectrum of advice and how we can improve the quality of what we do, from one end of the spectrum being purely factual information right through to face-to-face financial planning at the other”.

“There are obviously different channels of advice in between those two end points, so we’re looking at the whole gamut of channels that provide advice,” he said.

The project is being led by James Coyle, general manager of marketing and communications at the fund.

Australian Super already has an AFSL to provide personal advice, but does not currently use it. Members have access to financial advice through Industry Funds Financial Planning.

Silk said it was “just a historical thing” that the fund had not chosen to use its licence to provide personal advice in the past.

“The licence is not really the issue because you can always apply for a licence,” he said. “The real issue is: what is the optimum mix of the available channels to deliver advice to members, and we are reviewing the whole gamut of options.”

Australian Super does not currently employ salaried financial planners in-house, but Silk said there was a “realm of advice provision that’s beyond just face-to-face financial planners”.

“There’s phone-based advice and web-based advice, our field staff and so on. We’re looking at the whole spectrum,” he said.

“[The project] might not be concluded, but we’ll have a fair idea of our direction by the end of the year.”

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