Advice is not a product – Part III

Homes aren’t products.

Most Australians wouldn’t pay strangers to squat in the rooms of their homes.

Why do Australians accept the fees from the many faceless manufacturers, platform providers, planners, fund managers who crawl all over their superannuation?

Because that’s who has the power in today’s superannuation market.

Because the power in today’s superannuation marketplace is held by the large banks, the huge superannuation funds and insurance companies and because none of these make a cent from pure advice, it’s easy to appreciate how Australians have been conned into believing that superannuation is just another ‘product’ for a far-off retirement. 

As long as politicians, regulators, banks, manufacturers, the media, financial planners, and on-going financial services inquiries (e.g. Murray, Ripoll, Cooper et al) treat Australia’s $1.5T accumulated in superannuation funds as a ‘product’, normal Australians will continue to be dis-engaged. The clamour surrouding superannation is similar to the dust-storm that strangles political debate – most Australians are dismissing the ‘noise’ surrounding their super as a greedy grab.

Superannation isn’t a  product, it’s advice.

Every year, superannation is advice about old or new unmet and much desired aspirations.

Every year, superannation is about new and old complexities that arise thanks to constant innovations in new products, as a result of new regulations, due to new geo-political events in our own world of constant demands, and unexpected changes that life uniquely brings to us all.

The longer Australians remain dis-engaged from their superannuation and treat it as a ‘product’, more and more advisers, fund managers, platform providers, banks, and others will continue to clip the lucrative superannuation ticket every year, making more money for themselves regardless of whether the money provides value for whom it was designed back when Keating/Hawke/Kelty fought to introduce the scheme twenty years ago.

I appreciate that superannation needs good product. But just as surgeons need sharp scalpels, there will always be better products.

Superannation advice, delivered without conflict, without prejudice, with objective knowledge of one’s habits, attitudes, abilities, circumstances, unmet aspirations and unresolved complexities will forever trump the best product built by the best product manufacturer.

Don’t let the confusion, deception or faceless squatters convince you that your super is a product.

Like the value you get from your well-known, well-respected and unconflicted family doctor, superannuation is fundamentally advice.

What do you reckon?


About Jim Stackpool

For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.

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