Financial planners should be able to access the same class relief as superannuation trustees when providing limited, infra-fund advice, according to the chief executive of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Jo-Anne Bloch.
Bloch has used an analysis of the new intra-fund regime to state that while financial planners have never sought special dispensation, “perhaps the time has come”.
“For one thing, FPA members who meet much higher than RG 146 standards are at least competent, experienced and capable of providing such advice, whether at the low cost intra-fund end of the spectrum or the more comprehensive end of the advice spectrum,” she said.
Bloch said the FPA was examining ways to ensure members and their clients were not disadvantaged. Included among the ideas was the suggestion that financial planners be able to secure cross-authorisation with the licensee of a superannuation fund trustee.
However, she said the move with the most support seemed to be seeking the same rights as superannuation fund trustees by asking the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to extend the relief provided to all regulated entities.
Bloch said such a request would have the effect of leveling the playing field.
Referring to the notion underpinning the regulatory relief provided to superannuation funds being based on the “special relationship” that exists between a fund and its members, Bloch said if financial planners could demonstrate that “special relationship”, the idea of extending the relief was tenable.
Bloch denied the suggestion that the FPA’s opposition to the intra-fund advice regime was motivated by self interests.
“Our concerns are not self-serving,” she said. “... Those with real self interest and very active lobbyists are the super funds themselves because they now have an avenue to retain members cost-effectively, retain market share and remain competitive — all under the false guise of advice but without the financial planner.”
It is understood the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) has similarly suggested that it might be possible for the class relief provided to superannuation funds to be extended to financial planners.