The cost of a single-issue piece of financial advice to a super fund member, which funds often subsidise, could be slashed 80 per cent by automating the answers to simple questions around investment options, contributions, insurance and retirement, the makers of a new system claim.

Toowards, a web developer purchased by SuperRatings two years ago, claims to have commitments from two mid-sized super funds to use its web-based intra-fund advice system, SuperAdviser.

“After over 18 months of development, the web-based advice system is going through its final compliance and actuarial testing prior to its launch,” said Toowards director, Graeme D’Costa.

“The limited advice model seeks to provide a solution to meet ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 200 (RG200) announced in 2009 and the hurdles faced by superannuation funds and others in providing cost effective limited advice to their membership on a mass scale.”

SuperRatings director Jeff Bresnahan said that funds which satisfied single issue intra-fund advice requests through physical financial planners, such as those provided by Money Solutions or Industry Fund Financial Planning, were incurring costs of $200 to $300, most of which was subsidised by the broad membership.

“Australians are entitled to have their simple and common advice questions dealt with in an efficient manner, rather than the drawn out process currently adopted,” D’Costa said, adding that SuperAdviser could be linked to the member administration system, allowing online forms to be pre-populated with a member’s data, and the Statement Of Advice automated.

“The integration of the client data and the strong use of graphics within the system encourages people to complete the process, as opposed to many systems that require high levels of personal data.”

D’Costa said the system could be adapted for use by a fund’s members, call centre operators or financial planners, and was adaptable to a personal advice service as well as the simpler questions captured by the RG200 regime.


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