Super fund planning business to offer services to other funds

State Super Financial Services (SSFS) will begin to offer its financial planning services to other not-for-profit superannuation funds in the coming weeks after it completes an overhaul of its back office systems to provide scaled and comprehensive advice across any medium.

SSFS business development general manager James Panaretos said the group had identified an increased demand for advice by not-for-profit superannuation funds which were also examining differing advice models.

He stated that SSFS was receiving interest from other superannuation funds as it had a similar heritage to many funds in the not-for-profit sector but would be open to potential advice partnerships.

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"We are philosophically aligned with many funds seeking advice for their members but we will not have a closed door policy to other funds. Our heritage is defined benefit schemes but at retirement age - when many members need to have a financial plan in place - a defined benefit or accumulation scheme is no longer an issue," Panaretos said.

"Superannuation funds are turning their minds to advice but it is a resource heavy operation and they are looking at what is the right model of advice to offer and whether they will take on risk, the regulatory burden and ongoing cost," Panaretos said.

"We have invested and built a platform with a streamlined back-office, straight through processing into our planning software and customer relations management tools and we have the advice footprint across the country."

Panaretos said the provision of advice was also a recognition that superannuation performance alone was not sufficient to build retirement income nor retain members after retirement.

"The mandate of not-for-profit superannuation funds is changing and to retain members they are offering services and financial planning advice is part of that. Yet at the same time advice cannot be commoditised and will change as needs evolve," Panaretos said.

"Super funds are seeing that they need to engage people earlier to meet those needs and to engage them in thinking about retirement before they reach that point."

SSFS is the planning arm of SAS Trustee Corporation, also known as State Super, and has about 150 financial planners offering advice to current and former public sector employees with all planners members of the Financial Planning Association and two-thirds holding the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

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