The Federal Government’s intra fund advice changes have removed the red tape for super funds in providing limited personal advice to members. However questions have been raised over the ability of funds with outsourced contact centres to adapt as easily to the new advice landscape. KRISTEN PAECH reports. In launching On Track, a new retirement program for members, Queensland’s Sunsuper became the first private sector fund to manage its entire advice process, from general advice through to full financial planning, inhouse. Most funds, with the exception of large public sector funds like QSuper and Australian Reward Investment Alliance (ARIA), outsource their contact centre to their administration provider.

HOSTPLUS took the unusual step in 2007 of bringing its contact centre back inhouse, while Superpartners was retained for backoffice administration. Sunsuper’s member advice centre provides both personal and general advice to members, and following the release of Regulatory Guide 200 by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the fund is looking to extend the reach of its traditional member service centre to provide limited personal advice. Tony Lally, chief executive officer of Sunsuper, says the intra fund advice relief is much simpler than the On Track service, which includes a tailored financial strategy from a qualified adviser and a series of regular check-ups in the lead up to and throughout retirement.

“In effect it’s between what our member service centre does and what our member advice centre is set up to do,” he says. “At the moment we’re providing the service through our member advice centre but we will be extending that service down [to the member service centre] to cover the simpler requirements of the intra fund advice.” Delegating the simple advice queries to the broader call centre will allow the member advice centre to focus on the more complex, higher value and older members seeking advice, Lally says. However he questions the ability of funds with outsourced contact centres and advice models to adapt to the new advice landscape, given the ASIC relief has added “two extra layers that weren’t there before – limited advice and personal advice”. “To meet those needs as well as general calls and financial planning will require a very close look at how those four aspects fit together,” he says.

“I think it’s going to challenge those funds that don’t have an integrated model. It’s going to be very difficult to have advice outsourced in this particular area.” Lally believes the change will force funds to think hard about how much they outsource and how much they insource. “It’s going to require some very good planning and modelling on how the various services fit together for the members so they’re not passed off from one call centre to another,” he says. “This is a catalyst for the bigger funds to look hard at their model and to see what the value to their members is of having a fully integrated model for their members where they can service all of the various needs now.” RG 200 enables licensed super fund trustees to give personal advice to members about their existing interest in a fund on certain limited topics, including investment options, contributions, insurance (within the super fund) and financial hardship.

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