Industry funds stake out moral highground

Financial planners within industry super funds operate with a clear conscience and find it “easier to get of bed in the morning” than retail planners, according to Industry Funds Services (IFS).

IFS employs 75 full-service financial planners who are “embedded” in 16 industry and government superannuation funds, including AustralianSuper, HOSTPLUS and CBUS.

Speaking to ifa, IFS executive manager for wealth management, James Grant, said every planner he has ever worked with – in the retail or not-for-profit industry – did “a great job”.

But the “key difference” between the two sectors is that IFS has a “driving goal” of bringing advice costs down, said Mr Grant.

Unlike retail planning operations, IFS is a not-for-profit organisation focused on reducing costs to its superannuation members, he said, adding that IFS financial planners do not receive commissions for putting members into particular products.

The fee charged to members for comprehensive advice is not linked to the amount of funds under advice, Mr Grant said.

Industry fund members are charged a flat fee which is not related to the size of their account balance, he said.

“Our goal is to see as many people as possible and have a service that isn’t about seeing people with lots of money – we provide the same level of help and assistance to someone who’s got $20,000 as someone who’s got $500,000,” said Mr Grant.

Mr Grant has a master’s degree in financial planning and has managed teams of advisers in the retail banking sector as well as the not-for-profit sector.

“My goal is to develop a model that ensures people with not so much money get exactly the same level of professional service as those people that have a lot of money – I can’t necessarily say that about what my goals were when I worked in the retail environment,” said Mr Grant.

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