Rest, one of Australia’s largest profit-to-member superannuation funds, says the Australian Government’s Delivering Better Financial Outcomes Package provides a pathway for funds to expand their financial advice service and help more members achieve their best-possible retirement.
Rest CEO Vicki Doyle said the reforms proposed by government today provide an opportunity for superannuation funds to cost-effectively increase the scope and reach of their financial advice, while also maintaining strong consumer protection for members.
"Everyone should be able to access simple, convenient financial advice, especially lower and middle-income Australians,” said Ms Doyle.
"Expanding financial advice within super will help more of our members make informed decisions to improve their retirement outcomes.
"We represent nearly two million members, including around one million women and one million aged 30 or younger – people who have historically been less likely to access financial advice.
"Many of our members would simply not be able to access advice if it wasn’t available through their fund. This proposal will help make the super system fairer and more equitable.
"We support these reforms and will continue to work closely with Government, the industry and other stakeholders to enact these changes.”
Rest strongly supports:
- the proposed modifications to the best interests duty to clarify how it applies to limited scope or scaled advice, and the removal of the safe harbour steps, which were providing very limited consumer benefit to advice delivery
- the introduction of a new class of financial adviser with appropriate qualification and competency standards according to the complexity of the advice they are providing, and clear AFSL obligations for authorisation and supervision
- the expansion and legislative clarity on the topics that can be collectively charged by a superannuation fund, and the ability to consider a broader range of members’ personal and household circumstances
- a principles-based advice record to replace Statements of Advice, and
- a review of the Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics 2019.
Rest’s digital advice tools have allowed the fund to expand the reach of its financial advice service to its membership base. Around 90 per cent of Rest’s advice interactions with members in the 2022/23 financial year came through digital tools. Digital interactions rose 28 per cent year on year compared to the previous financial year.
"Our digital tools have allowed us to reach young more members and women. More than half of our total advice interactions in 2022/23 were with members under the age of 40, and nearly all of them used our digital tools," said Ms Doyle.