Superannuation / Financial Advisors in Canberra?

GrumpyMark 2 February 2012 30

Hello Rioters

One of the things about being a grumpy old man is that the prospect of needing to access one’s superannuation draws closer by the day.

I know a lot of people here, like my wife, will have some form of public service superannuation however I’m sure many others are in the same boat as me – having a managed superannuation arrangement.

I’m not happy with the firm who are currently managing my superannuation and have decided to test the water and see what alternatives are available. (PS I have deliberately chosen to avoid naming the firm as I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with them in general, it’s just we haven’t really struck that harmonious chord)

So I’d be interested to hear any recommendations from people on good financial advisors in the Canberra region.

I haven’t actually been able to find any threads on this topic but if there have been recent posts and the topic has been done to death then happy for someone to point me to that thread.


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30 Responses to Superannuation / Financial Advisors in Canberra?
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dungfungus dungfungus 8:23 pm 03 Feb 12

betterdeadthanzed said :

dungfungus should ask what your super balance is before suggesting a SMSF – below $250,000 it isn’t economic. dungfungus also points to IPA (an authoritative, unbiased source!!) criticism of industry funds, about lack of transparency. However, industry funds provide good returns over the long term, while retail funds underperform cash, presumably mainly due to the their hidden commissions and volume payments, and their in-house costs from related parties, which allow them to make payments to their shareholders. You’d be better off investing in the bank’s shares than putting super in their funds.

See instead Dilbert’s financial advice: https://retirementplans.vanguard.com/VGApp/pe/PubVgiNews?ArticleName=DilbertGuidetoPersonalFinance

The “Dilbert” article was good reading – thanks for the link. All points I agree with including the one for medical insurance. If all Australians followed this guide we would be richer (not just materially) for it.
Unfortunately, only a few Australians could stick to the discipline needed. We really need to educate our people in finance; as it stands now they are sitting ducks for the carpet baggers that have evolved with the superannuation industry. I agree that SMSFs aren’t for everyone and the best person to consult on this is an independant accountant (not a financial adviser).

Buster_Boy Buster_Boy 6:20 pm 03 Feb 12

LSWCHP said :

For some really enlightening reading, go to the blog at macrobusiness.com.au and check out the work of a guy writing as “The Prince” on superannuation. It’s brilliant.

+1, should be compulsory reading for all!

betterdeadthanzed betterdeadthanzed 6:02 pm 03 Feb 12

dungfungus should ask what your super balance is before suggesting a SMSF – below $250,000 it isn’t economic. dungfungus also points to IPA (an authoritative, unbiased source!!) criticism of industry funds, about lack of transparency. However, industry funds provide good returns over the long term, while retail funds underperform cash, presumably mainly due to the their hidden commissions and volume payments, and their in-house costs from related parties, which allow them to make payments to their shareholders. You’d be better off investing in the bank’s shares than putting super in their funds.

See instead Dilbert’s financial advice: https://retirementplans.vanguard.com/VGApp/pe/PubVgiNews?ArticleName=DilbertGuidetoPersonalFinance

LSWCHP LSWCHP 5:51 pm 03 Feb 12

dungfungus said :

Thanks for your support LSWCHP. I note you too have had a negative experience with the industry and you know someone who is being handled also. A lot of other contributors are being ripped off but they don’t realize it yet. I blame the industry regulators and I don’t mean the ATO who only regulate SMSFs. For too long the other regulator has condoned balanced funds being overweighted with shares which makes them “unbalanced” with drastic consequences in the event of negative sentiment in the market with no recourse to claw back. While the Government has acted to protect term deposit contributors with the $250k deposit guarantee scheme it has done nothing for share market speculators. This should give contributors a clear message about degrees of risk. There is a plethora of information and opinion available out there but you have to dig for it.

You’re welcome. I didn’t really understand the heat of the others posters responses to your comment.

I also agree 100% with what you say about so-called “balanced” super accounts. They look good in the good times, but their exposure to the share market makes them hugely exposed to downside risk, as around 90% of Australian super holders have discovered.

I believe the correct approach in these uncertain times is to have a lot of cash, with a small mix of equities and other assets. And I’ll say it again…capital preservation is more important than capital gain. Watching one’s retirement savings shrinking, while being charged fees by those making the bad investments is an incredibly embittering experience.

For some really enlightening reading, go to the blog at macrobusiness.com.au and check out the work of a guy writing as “The Prince” on superannuation. It’s brilliant.

mrsdarcy mrsdarcy 11:51 am 03 Feb 12

You are on the right track – see a few planners and find out what they can do for you. You should avoid the “product-flogger” or anyone who tries to tell you an SMSF is the only way to go (it’s not for everyone!!). A good planner will provide you with advice tailored to your particular needs, answer your questions and inspire your trust. They won’t charge you for an initial meeting (which really should be about getting to know you not providing you with advice). Good luck!

dungfungus dungfungus 11:32 am 03 Feb 12

sezzle said :

If you want someone to handle everything for you (rather than a SMSF which can be a bit daunting for some) make sure you seek a true fee for service advisor – which there aren’t many of.
Personally, I like the Industry Super Funds and they have their own advisors that will give you a quote first, then you decide if you want to go ahead or not, no commissions.

The ISFs say they don’t pay commissions but the fees paid to the fund managers generally exceed those of the retail funds. Please go to link and read “full report” and see if you feel the same way.
http://www.contractworld.com.au/discussions/ken-phillips-is-your-super-safe.php

missjb missjb 9:32 am 03 Feb 12

Lynette Murray – Acton Advice :).

http://www.actonadvice.com.au

sezzle sezzle 9:12 am 03 Feb 12

If you want someone to handle everything for you (rather than a SMSF which can be a bit daunting for some) make sure you seek a true fee for service advisor – which there aren’t many of.
Personally, I like the Industry Super Funds and they have their own advisors that will give you a quote first, then you decide if you want to go ahead or not, no commissions.

GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 8:09 am 03 Feb 12

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post in this thread. Your comments are appreciated. The good thing about RiotACT-ers is we can always rely on getting several sides to the story and I respect the opinions expressed by all.

My wife and I intend to continue seeking professional advice as we certainly don’t have the knowledge or confidence to do it ourselves. Having said that I acknowledge dungfungus’s point about investing in cash and we (the good wife and I) have certainly talked about it as a possible strategy.

The main intent of the post was to get some feedback on positive experiences people have had with financial advisors. We will be looking around and the names and companies put forward in here are a good starting point.

dungfungus dungfungus 8:02 am 03 Feb 12

LSWCHP said :

What dungfungus said is eminently sensible. Maybe he should have phrased that as “opinion” rather than “advice”, but that seems like nitpicking to me. I don’t see the OP investing their super based on something they read on a blog post.

Anyway, the key point is that capital preservation is more important than capital gain, particularly as you approach retirement. Paying a suit-wearing BMW driving spiv a lot of money to gamble with and lose your super on the stock market is likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth. I’ve done that, and I don’t do it any more.

And a friend of mine who was widowed last year recently complained to me quite bitterly that she’d paid around $3000 to one of those spivs for “financial advice” that boiled down to “Be careful with your money. Invest carefully. Continue to seek financial advice from me at great expense”.

My view is that seeking advice from financial advisers is like swimming in a pool full of sharks, piranhas, and crocodiles. Obviously I don’t have any positive advice for you on that front. 🙂

Anyway, good luck in your search GM. I hope it goes well for you.

Thanks for your support LSWCHP. I note you too have had a negative experience with the industry and you know someone who is being handled also. A lot of other contributors are being ripped off but they don’t realize it yet. I blame the industry regulators and I don’t mean the ATO who only regulate SMSFs. For too long the other regulator has condoned balanced funds being overweighted with shares which makes them “unbalanced” with drastic consequences in the event of negative sentiment in the market with no recourse to claw back. While the Government has acted to protect term deposit contributors with the $250k deposit guarantee scheme it has done nothing for share market speculators. This should give contributors a clear message about degrees of risk. There is a plethora of information and opinion available out there but you have to dig for it.

Innovation Innovation 7:35 am 03 Feb 12

Perhaps make sure your chosen advisor can spell license….

dungfungus dungfungus 10:56 pm 02 Feb 12

bugalugs said :

dungfungus said :

Bond funds cannot be accessed by an individual SMSF and without the “SM” bit I am not interested.

Why can’t a SMSF own bonds?

If you meant it wasn’t possible to get exposure

Vanguard for wholesale managed fund access or if you think you can do better yourself?

FIIG Securities – http://www.fiig.com.au/fixed-income/services/54/directbonds.html

I am aware of what you say but as I said, an individual SMSF can’t buy Treasury bonds directly and there is a fee if you deal with a wholesale fund. Not interested in sovereign bonds especially after seeing what is happening now in Europe (whoops! I am giving unlicsened opinion again)

dungfungus dungfungus 10:50 pm 02 Feb 12

user_unknown said :

I would STRONGLY suggest you DO NOT take ANY advice from ANYONE who is not licenced and happy to provide advice over the internet without taking into account ANY of your personal circumstances. It’s likely to be crap advice.

Just because it worked out well for one person, doesn’t automatically mean it’ll work for someone else and if dungfungus was even a half decent advisor (regardless of how long ago it was) they should know better than to assume that what worked for them will work for everyone.

I’ve worked in the finance industry for the last 10 years and the only advice I will provide is do your research – get a few appointments (the first one is usually free) with a few different advisors. Look at what the advisors generally invest in, what their commissions are and if they get paid to sell certain products.

Good luck with it all!

GrumpyMark specifically said he wasn’t happy with his current fund management and he was seeking alternatives. I responded accordingly. GrumpyMark is probably one of thousands of contributors who is wondering why his super balance is going backwards. It certainly “hasn’t worked out well” for them has it? I was in this situation also until I lost one quarter of my super in a share market “correction”. The last thing a fund managing financial adviser will do is term deposits as there is no commission involved. If someone has a SMSF then there is no point in seeking advice otherwise it is no longer self managed. It is the same as a self-funded retiree getting the CSHC concession card. If you accept any sort of taxpayer subsidised welfare you are no longer self-funded are you.
You are hypocrite for telling GrumpyMark not to take any advice from anyone not licsensed over the internet and you then give him your “advice” based only on the fact that you have been in the finance industry for 10 years (you are only a pup, sonny). I did not assume my situation would be the same as GrumpyMark’s either.
The facts are that the SMSF sector is outperforming every other (am I allowed to say that without a licsense?); so what does that tell you. I accept that it may not suit everyone but at least GrumpyMark is becoming enlightened about what has become a giant Ponzi scheme for a lot of people.

LSWCHP LSWCHP 10:09 pm 02 Feb 12

What dungfungus said is eminently sensible. Maybe he should have phrased that as “opinion” rather than “advice”, but that seems like nitpicking to me. I don’t see the OP investing their super based on something they read on a blog post.

Anyway, the key point is that capital preservation is more important than capital gain, particularly as you approach retirement. Paying a suit-wearing BMW driving spiv a lot of money to gamble with and lose your super on the stock market is likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth. I’ve done that, and I don’t do it any more.

And a friend of mine who was widowed last year recently complained to me quite bitterly that she’d paid around $3000 to one of those spivs for “financial advice” that boiled down to “Be careful with your money. Invest carefully. Continue to seek financial advice from me at great expense”.

My view is that seeking advice from financial advisers is like swimming in a pool full of sharks, piranhas, and crocodiles. Obviously I don’t have any positive advice for you on that front. 🙂

Anyway, good luck in your search GM. I hope it goes well for you.

user_unknown user_unknown 8:30 pm 02 Feb 12

I would STRONGLY suggest you DO NOT take ANY advice from ANYONE who is not licenced and happy to provide advice over the internet without taking into account ANY of your personal circumstances. It’s likely to be crap advice.

Just because it worked out well for one person, doesn’t automatically mean it’ll work for someone else and if dungfungus was even a half decent advisor (regardless of how long ago it was) they should know better than to assume that what worked for them will work for everyone.

I’ve worked in the finance industry for the last 10 years and the only advice I will provide is do your research – get a few appointments (the first one is usually free) with a few different advisors. Look at what the advisors generally invest in, what their commissions are and if they get paid to sell certain products.

Good luck with it all!

bugalugs bugalugs 7:23 pm 02 Feb 12

dungfungus said :

Bond funds cannot be accessed by an individual SMSF and without the “SM” bit I am not interested.

Why can’t a SMSF own bonds?

If you meant it wasn’t possible to get exposure

Vanguard for wholesale managed fund access or if you think you can do better yourself?

FIIG Securities – http://www.fiig.com.au/fixed-income/services/54/directbonds.html

dungfungus dungfungus 6:19 pm 02 Feb 12

Innovation said :

dungfungus said :

Hey Grumpy Mark, please ignore what I suggested; I really don’t have a clue what I am talking about. Best you take the “advice” of NoImRight and see a professional which I am not.
P.S. For a non-professional I am having a good retirement; maybe that’s because all my super is intact (no shares) but then that’s just good luck I suppose. I used to be a Licensed Investment Advisor but that was 40 years ago and what I knew then was jacksh*t compared to the hotshot advice you can buy today. I really don’t know why I got as far as I did.

I don’t know about 40 years ago but isn’t there a law against giving unlicensed financial advice now?

Anyone can give financial advice but if you charge for it or receive a commission you must be appropriately licsensed. My opinions are crap anyway according to some contributors on this blog so is anyone concerned?

dungfungus dungfungus 6:12 pm 02 Feb 12

bugalugs said :

dungfungus said :

P.S. For a non-professional I am having a good retirement; maybe that’s because all my super is intact (no shares) but then that’s just good luck I suppose. I used to be a Licensed Investment Advisor but that was 40 years ago and what I knew then was jacksh*t compared to the hotshot advice you can buy today. I really don’t know why I got as far as I did.

Well good luck with youre cash only strategy champ.

I don’t suppose you’ve thought about the possibility of Sovereign debt being devalued with a good dose of inflation?

Or, I wonder if it is really smart when you could be investing in AAA govt. bond funds instead of AA or A reputable banks?

I think about the possibilities you mention all the time. Others should note what you said because the media rarely mentions these scenarios.Term deposits in other currencies are available albeit with a reduced interest rate. Bond funds cannot be accessed by an individual SMSF and without the “SM” bit I am not interested. Our Prime Minister was saying again today how good things are with our economy and financial deposits are Govt. guranteed aggregate of $250K. I see little chance of inflation while there is global overproduction and rising unemployment.

Innovation Innovation 5:19 pm 02 Feb 12

dungfungus said :

Hey Grumpy Mark, please ignore what I suggested; I really don’t have a clue what I am talking about. Best you take the “advice” of NoImRight and see a professional which I am not.
P.S. For a non-professional I am having a good retirement; maybe that’s because all my super is intact (no shares) but then that’s just good luck I suppose. I used to be a Licensed Investment Advisor but that was 40 years ago and what I knew then was jacksh*t compared to the hotshot advice you can buy today. I really don’t know why I got as far as I did.

I don’t know about 40 years ago but isn’t there a law against giving unlicensed financial advice now?

bugalugs bugalugs 4:53 pm 02 Feb 12

dungfungus said :

P.S. For a non-professional I am having a good retirement; maybe that’s because all my super is intact (no shares) but then that’s just good luck I suppose. I used to be a Licensed Investment Advisor but that was 40 years ago and what I knew then was jacksh*t compared to the hotshot advice you can buy today. I really don’t know why I got as far as I did.

Well good luck with youre cash only strategy champ.

I don’t suppose you’ve thought about the possibility of Sovereign debt being devalued with a good dose of inflation?

Or, I wonder if it is really smart when you could be investing in AAA govt. bond funds instead of AA or A reputable banks?

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