Advice fee cap not absolute

early release advice fee

Advisers should not view the capped fee for advice dealing with the early release of super benefits as absolutely definitive for all client discussions.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission-imposed capped fee of $300 for advice regarding the early release of superannuation benefits as a COVID-19 measure has a narrow scope and will not apply should client discussions also include broader financial planning matters, an SMSF Association board member has said.

“I know some advisers I’ve been speaking with have expressed concerns they are going to be required to provide statements of advice for a fixed fee of $300 if they’re talking to their clients about the early release [of super]. [This is] actually not the case,” Superology director Tracey Scotchbrook said while participating as a panellist during a recent SMSF Association’s COVID-19 webinar.

“You can still talk about this in a full statement of advice. So if you’ve got a client that comes to you for some broad advice, and you’re doing that statement of advice piece, you can have that conversation with them and incorporate that in your statement of advice and your normal fee will apply.”

Fellow webinar panellist Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn recommended practitioners look beyond the pure $300 fee to consider some of the other associated benefits that may result from the advice provided.

“Speaking to some other accountants, I know they look at the fee and get quite nervous and say: ‘How are we meant to get this done for that sort of price? It’s a lot more than that,’” Dunn said.

The client conversation concerning early access to super fund benefits can lead to other advice opportunities, such as discussions addressing the JobKeeper COVID-19 relief measure and loan restructuring, he said.

He noted though proper procedures are still required and the anti-soliciting rules included in the relaxed compliance conditions governing early super release advice needed to be acknowledged and obeyed.

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