Whether you are in the early stages of your career; switching employers; or perhaps gearing up for retirement – the thought of superannuation is never too far away. And, if you are like other Canberran’s your defined benefit superannuation fund forms a significant part of your retirement nest egg.
With so much leaning on superannuation, it is no surprise that a lot of us shy away from what we should be paying attention to. For some it may feel too far ahead to matter – while others may feel overwhelmed and confused. This sentiment is exactly why we should do all that we can to maximise our superfund outcome early.
After all, employer contributions are one thing – but there are many more ways to nurture your defined benefit superannuation balance. When it comes to retirement, the small choices that we make along the way often yield the greatest impact in the long run.
Choices like how much to add towards an additional contribution? Whether you should consider salary sacrifice, and by how much? If you should be looking at other ways to grow your fund early? Or if you should opt for a partial or full lump sum payment upon retirement.
This is where solid professional advice can make the world of difference. Defined benefit super financial planners are specialists in super asset management within defined benefit schemes. They have an innate knowledge of the legal and tax parameters governing benefits, and work with clients to ensure they extract the optimum outcome upon retirement.
It is important to note that there is more to defined benefit super than lump sum payments or income streams. A great financial planner can help you bridge the gap from where you are now – to where you want to be in retirement. Whether you are in a Public Sector Superannuation (PSS) or Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) chances are that you could use some help working through options.
So, where to find the best defined benefit super advice in the Canberra region? Read on to find out!
What makes a great defined benefit super financial planner?
The best defined benefit super financial planners are connoisseurs in all things wealth management. They take the time to understand each client’s unique circumstances and use their analytical capability to devise and drive successful financial plans. Here are some suggestions to help you evaluate your defined benefit super financial planner:
- Qualified & Licensed. Great financial planners have a sound knowledge base stemming from years of tertiary study. Look qualifications in finance, accounting, law, banking, and economics. Moreover, practising financial advisors are required to hold a Financial Services licensed issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Planners by be directors, or employees of the license holder. Additionally, planners should be practising as certified financial planners as issued by the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA). Finally, by January 2022, advisors will be required to pass an exam for the Financial Advisor Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).
- Specialised Expertise. No two clients are ever the same, and the same holds true for financial planners. Due to the complex nature of finance systems and laws, and many planners lend themselves to experience in specialised areas. So, when it comes to defined benefit super seek out planners who are well versed in this area. Consider the depth of their experience; who their typical client is; and whether this fits your circumstance and need.
- Professional & Ethical. The best defined benefit super financial planners uphold the highest ethical standards. They are trustworthy, diligent, fair, and known for their integrity. Therefore, understand how your planner selects products, and whether they have any affiliations with the ones they recommend. Planners who are unaligned to, or independent of, products will help ensure your advice is conflict free. Additionally, look for planners who prioritise professional development through continued education and training. Memberships with industry bodies as such as the Financial Advisor Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), and the Association of Financial Advisors (AFA), all demonstrate a strong professional ethos.
- The Big Picture. Great defined benefit super financial planners have an owl’s view of the world. They can focus on intimate details whist still taking in the full horizon. Big picture thinking is incredibly important when it comes to maximising your superannuation. Look for planners who work across short, mid, and long-term goals, creating strategies with everything from wealth creation, to asset protection, and tax minimisation under the fold. Finally, ensure your ongoing needs are addressed via annual reviews and proactivity on the planner’s behalf should you be impacted by any changes.
- Quality Client Care. As a client seeking financial services advice you should expect nothing less than top quality client care. The best defined benefit super financial planners are devoted to meticulous processes, thorough record keeping, and transparency. They have clear fees and structures, and ensure clients understand the full spectrum of their recommendations. This should include all benefits, risks, and costs of the any financial advice and products recommended.
Important essentials to check before engaging a defined benefit super financial planner
- Check ASIC’s Financial Advisers Register to see if your provider is licensed.
- Ensure your financial planner is certified by the FPA.
- Review ASIC’s Enforceable Undertakings Register to ensure no action has been taken against them.
- Cross reference industry bodies for professional memberships.
- Be sure to research the financial planning organisation, and it’s staff, well.
The best defined benefit super financial planners in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
With heritage that spans ninety-five years, RSM have grown to be one of the leading professional services firms in Australia. With offices in thirty locations around the country, their Canberra team draw on the firm’s international footprint to stay at the forefront of global best practice.
Locally, RSM’s core client ethos centres on the power of understanding. This coupled with their commitment to quality communication, continuous improvement, and delivering over and above client expectations have built a reputation that is second to none.
RSM provides sound, practical, and relevant financial advice to clients at all stages of life, focusing on building wealth. Financial services include self-managed superannuation, retirement planning, wealth accumulation, debt management and personal risk.
The team at RSM specialises in superannuation strategies, including investment options, building strong relationships based on a deep understanding of what matters most to clients.
For clients wishing to explore options within defined benefit funds RSM are a hard to miss.
George Cassimatis shared this feedback on RSM via Google, “If you want good tax, financial or planning advice, RSM is the place to go!”
Deakin ACT 2600
Morgans Canberra was established in 1998 and its team of financial advisers provide personalised service to clients with a team-based approach, which involves a financial planner, investment adviser and support staff. Team support includes advising clients on superannuation, self-managed super funds (administration and management), financial planning and retirement planning.
On Google, Ange Byron wrote, “The Morgan’s people … are efficient, really good at what they do and actually juggle things around to fit you in if it’s an emergency.”
See Clear Wealth Financial Planning is a holistic financial planning firm, specialising in personal superannuation, government defined benefit schemes and insurance. With a combined 30 years of experience in finance, the team supports clients in all phases of life, including retirement. Personalised service is key, with See Clear Wealth advisors happy to meet clients at a location and time of their choice.
On Facebook, Merrin Starr wrote, “Very knowledgeable and professional financial advisors …”
Nest Advisory Group helps clients design and implement short and long-term plans to create, grow and protect their wealth. Financial consultants help clients answer two questions – How much money do I need to retire? When can I do it?
Through expert, holistic advice, Nest Advisory Group supports clients to invest and diversify wealth across property, shares, managed investments, and other assets. Financial consultants have extensive knowledge working with the PSS and CSS.
Nest Advisory Group positions clients to achieve a better financial future by making smart and informed choices, armed with up-to-date market knowledge. This gives clients confidence and peace of mind. The team also supports clients to track progress towards goals and portfolio performance, providing meaningful ongoing advice and support along the way.
Stu and Jen Logan wrote on Google, “… very professional and went over and beyond to help us with questions we had. Really friendly in their attitude, which helped with some of the complicated matters we were dealing with.”
Green Associates is a leading charter financial planning practice that has been operating since 1989. It is one of a select number of businesses that has been awarded Certified Quality Advice Practice status by Charter Financial Planning. Green Associates provides quality advice on superannuation as a long-term investment, a growing asset and a way of saving money while lowering tax. This includes advice on employer contributions, salary sacrifice contributions and personal contributions.
On Facebook, Veronica Molloy wrote, “Happily recommend this thorough and professional service.”
If you’re looking for more information on wealth management in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best financial planners, the best tax accountants and the best chartered accountants Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with defined benefits super financial planners in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the Defined Benefits Super financial planners listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between accumulated and defined benefit superannuation?
In Australia there are two core superannuation types, accumulated and defined benefit funds. Accumulated funds are the most common, whereby employers and fund holders contribute into individual accounts. Benefits here are accumulated over time and dependant on investment market returns. Defined benefit funds however are less common, generally corporate or public sector, and many are closed to new members. In defined benefit funds, employers contribute to the fund itself, while employees contribute to individual accounts. Benefits are calculated on an agreed formula determined by the employer and super provider.
What factors determine the value of defined benefit superannuation?
Unlike accumulated superannuation, defined benefit superannuation payments are not generally dependant on investment returns. Rather, the value of your retirement benefit is determined by fund rules and depends on factors like how long you have worked for your employer; the value of employer and individual contributions; your salary upon retirement or average salary over a given period. For advice on your situation please consult a financial planner with a defined benefit specialisation.
How are PSS and CSS funds different?
Public Sector Superannuation (PSS) and Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) funds are both typically comprised of federal or ACT public servant members. The core difference is the way in which the final benefit is calculated, which relates to lump sum payments and the age of access. Each scheme is quite complex and personal circumstances are all different, so professional advice from a financial planner is a great way to understand; and grow; your fund.
How can I maximise my PSS and CSS benefits?
Understanding and maximising your PSS and CSS benefits for retirement is incredibly important, as the little things now can make a big difference in the years to come. Knowing how to do this is often the challenging part! Consulting a financial planner specialising in PSS and CSS may help with deepening your understanding and developing a strategy to maximise your benefit potential.
What should I consider when claiming a defined benefit superannuation payment?
There are many factors to consider if you are thinking about claiming a payment through your defined benefit superannuation fund. There is more to the picture than simply a lump sum payment or guaranteed income which is why it is worth seeking professional financial advice from a specialised planner. They will be able to assist with exploring the trade-off between these options, help you to understand how much money is needed for what you wish to do in retirement, and ways in which to reduce tax and more.