Industry super giant reveals $26m advice spend

Aware Super (formerly known as First State Super) has indicated it spent $26 million on its total employment costs for its advice team in the past financial year.

In response to questions on notice from the House of Representatives standing committee on economics, the industry fund giant gave insight into its advice provision. Financial planning services at the fund are provided by its business, Aware Financial Services Australia.

The fund, which recently merged with VicSuper and is set to consolidate with WA Super, had 190 advisers employed during the last financial year, with total employment costs of $26 million.

The year before the fund spent $28 million on 217 advisers and in financial year 2018, it dropped $31 million on 214 advisers.

The fund’s advisers have been providing both intrafund and comprehensive advice for the last five financial years, with a specific intrafund team comprising between 10 and 14 people.

The total revenue generated from the advice segment came to $104 million for FY20, an 8 per cent drop from the prior year’s $113 million and 15 per cent down from two years prior.

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Advisers working for the fund received remuneration packages (base salary and super) in the range of $100,000 to $160,000 in FY20, compared with a previous range of $75,000-$152,000 in FY17.

The direct costs of providing comprehensive advice are paid for by the member receiving it, while intrafund advice is covered by the administration fee charged to members.

Aware Super reported there had been several changes to its advice model during the last five financial years, as the broader advice industry underwent changes and it integrated the StatePlus business.

From FY16 to FY19, StatePlus ran as an integrated advice, super and investment operation, accounted for as a single entity.

But Aware Super stated it did not have specific accounting for each line of business, particularly as it related to support units such as marketing, legal, compliance and regulatory oversight.

Other funds, including Cbus, MTAA Super, Prime Super and TWU Super, have also revealed the extent to which they employ intra-fund advisers to the committee.

Cbus was the largest employer of the four funds, with 24 advisers in the 2019 financial year.

In June, Aware Super refuted claims that its merger with VicSuper would result in advice fee hikes for members, following media reports of expected rises to surpass 30 per cent.

Industry super giant reveals $26m advice spend
advice spend
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