Australians who obtain their superannuation through one of the "Big 6" planning groups continue to be confused about their planners independence. This confusion is particularly apparent where the branding is different to that of the owner, such as Hillross which is part of the AMP Group, or Garvan which is owned by NAB/MLC. These are just some of the findings from the Roy Morgan Research Superannuation & Wealth Management in Australia report.
Roy Morgan Research has just released an update of Australia's most comprehensive analysis of the wealth management industry. The Roy Morgan Research "Superannuation & Wealth Management in Australia" report is based on research taken from over 250,000 face-to-face interviews over the last five years, providing one of the most accurate insights into the wealth management market available.
The report has found that Australians who acquired their superannuation through financial planners are confused as to whether the planner they have used is aligned to a major financial institution or independent. This is especially prevalent for the licensee groups owned by one of the "Big 6" retail groups, such as Garvan (NAB/MLC), Hillross (AMP), RetireInvest (ANZ) and Charter FP (AXA).
Adding to this concern is that planners aligned to the major wealth managers continue to funnel the majority of the funds they establish to their parent fund manager, a trend which is largely unchanged over the past three years.
Advisers from AMP have directed the most funds since 2007 to their own fund manager with 82.2% of the funds on average, while ANZ have been the least with only 45.3% being directed internally.
While AXA saw a decrease of 7.3% in the latest period, this can largely be explained by a large increase in the proportion of funds being directed towards self-managed superannuation by their advisers. This is not unexpected given that in late 2009, AXA announced that it had completed the purchase of self-managed superannuation provider Multiport, which would likely be receiving the bulk of this difference.
Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research says:
"While most who visit a financial planner under the banner of a major wealth company are aware of their ties, confusion continues around those who many perceive are independent, but are actually aligned. Given that these planners will likely still be tied to the groups Approved Product List (APL), it raises the issue of how informed consumers are to this potential conflict.
"While initiatives such as AustralianSupers adviser panel trial are possibly steps in the right direction, it remains to be seen how effective this will be to expanding APL's beyond a groups own platforms to offer clients the best product to meet their needs and whether the Federal Government will intervene as part of the Future of Financial Advice Review.
"For a client that may be entering an advice relationship on the premise that the financial planner they are visiting is independent of any major financial institution, however this is clearly not always the case and the lack of independence regarding these planner's approved products raises the question of whether the best interests of the client are always being served."
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