Mega fund outlines advice ambitions for members

12 March 2024
| By Keith Ford |
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On the back of Ipsos research released for International Women’s Day last week, Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has observed how women are less confident about their finances than men.

The research, commissioned by ART, found that just 28 per cent of women feel secure in their financial situation and less than a third of women feel their superannuation is in a good position.

ART executive general manager of advice, guidance and education Anne Fuchs said that seeking financial advice is one of the “simple steps” women can take to improve their finances, while spruiking the tools available through ART.

“It’s often the case for women, we put ourselves last on the to-do list. If you’re taking on the lion’s share of unpaid work in the home, finding time to plan and set financial goals can be a challenge,” Fuchs said.

“While women are getting better at carving out time for self-care, that same mindset needs to be applied to saving and investing, so it turns into a habit.

“What we decide to save or invest in today can make a big difference to the life we lead tomorrow, so we would always encourage members to take advantage of free budgeting tips and tools we offer to start engaging with super and where appropriate consider options like salary sacrificing extra contributions.”

Fuchs added that ART can offer different kinds of financial advice to members to help prepare them for their future in retirement.

“At Australian Retirement Trust, financial advice about your super is included as part of your membership, so there’s no additional cost,” she said.

“We also have the ART app for members to help them stay in touch with their super balance and transaction history, review insurances, and even explore different investments options.”

It followed Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones’ announcement in December last year that the government would support the creation of a new class of financial advice providers.

As recommended by the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) – recommendation 3 – this new class of advisers will not be able to charge a fee or receive a commission relating to the personal advice they provide.

“We must give consumers what they actually need,” the minister said last year.

“These changes will apply across all financial institutions, including superannuation funds, life and general insurers, and banks. It is expected that this new class – to be termed ‘qualified advisers’ – will generally be employees of licensed financial institutions. The licensee will be wholly responsible for the advice provided.”

Ahead of this announcement, ART chief executive Bernard Reilly said the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) would help simplify the regulatory framework to better enable high-quality, accessible, and affordable financial advice.

“Australian Retirement Trust is an industry leader in the financial advice space, and we want more Australians receiving affordable and accessible advice. The advice system is broken and all Australians deserve a better solution – so we welcome the Quality of Advice Review,” Reilly said at the time.

Last month, the Super Members Council (SMC) encouraged the government to “swiftly” consult and legislate the retirement and super component of the financial advice reform package before the end of this year.

Citing research that suggests that 73 per cent of members would trust advice from their super funds if it were specifically tailored to their circumstances, SMC said in its retirement income submission that there is “a huge appetite” for high-quality, low-cost, and no-cost advice to help people plan wisely for retirement.

The council opined that advice remains the “missing piece in the retirement puzzle”.

“We want to ensure retirement is simple, easy and flexible. People should be able to have confidence that they are in a good product that’s right for them,” said SMC CEO Misha Schubert.

ART is a founding member of the SMC, along with AustralianSuper, Aware Super, Cbus Super, HESTA, Hostplus, Rest Super, and UniSuper.


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