One of A.S.A.P.’s most popular services is our compliant advice on establishing an Account Based or Transition to Retirement Pension from a clients existing SMSF. This is an important piece of advice as there are many retirement issues to consider. The advice is ordered online and delivered via email within 48 hours of A.S.A.P. receiving the requisite information.
A.S.A.P. is built to enable accountants to stay in control of their client relationship and meet compliance requirements cost effectively – by referring to a digital advice platform. The standard fee for our Statement of Advice is $250+GST even when this includes multiple transactions at once.
Scope of the advice
Protects your client:
Our advice is tailored to ‘self managed’ clients – who don’t necessarily want to engage a traditional financial adviser – but expect a level of protection that accountants were formerly able to give under the ‘accountants exemption’ prior to 1 July 2016.
This protection often took the form of a second opinion and/or personalised endorsements/warnings based on the client’s personal situation. It is now illegal to provide this type of protection without going through a compliant advice process.
A.S.A.P.’s scope of our advice has been carefully designed to compliment, not duplicate, the tax advice that accountants operating through an unlicensed entity can still give their clients (see our Safe Use guide for further information).
Appropriateness of an SMSF pension:
We provide personal financial product advice that includes specific recommendations and endorsements (or warnings) and highlights the most relevant and pertinent issues that your client should take into account based on their personal situation.
A.S.A.P.’s advice engine explores the reasons for wanting a pension and looks at their situation through a financial planning lens. We apply a broad range of checks and balances in light of the client’s personal objectives.
As per ASIC requirements, our Statement of Advice considers the advantages and disadvantages of an SMSF pension and clearly states the alternative products that were considered in the advice process (such as APRA funds and annuities).
Fees and investments:
In line with requirements, our advice also reviews the costs of using the SMSF given the client’s balance and retirement income needs. For example if a clients balance falls to the extent that the fixed costs of running the SMSF would erode their investment performance too much then we would include appropriate warnings for the client to consider.
Please note that our advice is for genuine ‘self managed’ clients. As such we do not provide investment recommendations but we do provide guidance on key issues such as the need for liquidity in paying a pension.
Funding your lifestyle in retirement:
Maintaining a lifestyle without working puts a strain on household resources that must be managed with care and vigilance.
As clients approach and enter retirement, it’s vital to keep an eye on whether their lifestyle can be supported.
Even wealthy clients need to take care because their lifestyle costs tend to be much higher and they receive less (or nothing) from the Age Pension. As an example, the balance needed for a 60 year old couple to be confident that they can maintain a $100,000 p.a. lifestyle for life (indexed to inflation) is over $2.1 million.
Our Statements of Advice include high level actuarial assessment of the client’s ability to sustain their pension (and overall lifestyle) for life in retirement.
Experienced users of A.S.A.P. say it takes them less than half an hour with the client to complete the scoping process and request a Statement of Advice.
For every Statement of Advice there is a full audit trail that accountants can access online at any time. This includes a record of all client decisions, documents and e-signatures.
Once logged in to the platform, accountants can:
- Download the A.S.A.P. Financial Services Guide
- Easily identify what advice is required by the client using our Scoping Tool (patent pending)
- Download our Client Questionnaire for their client to complete
- Access the Statement of Advice and audit trail at any time
Integration with Topdocs
A.S.A.P.’s have partnered with Australia’s leading provider of quality legal documentation, Topdocs, to provide our customers with an option to use data from the advice process to also order the documents required to implement the advice. (Topdocs fees apply)
Topdocs’ pension commencement package includes:
- Pension application form
- Pension agreement
- A comprehensive product disclosure statement (PDS) that is compliant with all disclosure requirements imposed by ASIC
- Trustee minutes
- Relevant Australian Taxation Office (ATO) documentation (for pensioners under 60)
- Full calculations
How to Order
The A.S.A.P. Statement of Advice order process can be broken down into the following easy steps:
- Enter or import client details and, when ready, tell the system to email them our welcome email (including our Financial Service Guide)
- Launch an SoA order from the platform
- Have your client answer 4 suitability questions to validate that digital advice is appropriate for their needs
- Use our Scoping Tool (patent pending) which identifies what advice your client requires
- Have your client fill in their personalised client questionnaire
- Upload completed questionnaire to the platform
- Ensure all required client documentation has been provided to A.S.A.P. (refer to the ‘checklist’ tab within your order)
The finalised SoA will be emailed to you and your client within 2 working days of us receiving all requisite information.
Experienced users of A.S.A.P. say it takes less than half an hour with the client o complete the order process. A more detailed summary of the order process can be found in our ‘Introductory Guide‘.
The following documents will be eSigned by the client:
- Confirmation of Scope letter – to summarise the advice decisions made in the Scoping Tool
- Client Questionnaire – to confirm the details they have provided are correct. Approx. 2 page length
- Authority to Proceed – this page (within the final Statement of Advice letter) provides a signed record that the client has understood and intends to act on the advice provided by A.S.A.P. This ensures the advice is safe for the accountant to then implement under client instruction
The following document is required to be physically signed by the client, scanned and uploaded into the platform:
- Letter of Authority – where there are rollovers, this letter signed by the client allows A.S.A.P.’s advisers to contact the existing super funds. (Most funds will not accept digital signatures for this purpose)
The following documents are required to be scanned and uploaded via the platform:
- Valid ID document – All advisers must verify the identify of their client. A certified driver’s license or passport will be sufficient
The A.S.A.P. order process requires clients to ‘eSign’ certain documents. If you are not familiar with this process, see the ‘More Information’ tab for further details.
You can create an account with A.S.A.P. to order Statements of Advice when needed. Registration is free of charge.Register
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We charge a fixed fee of $250+GST for our Statement of Advice on starting a pension from an existing SMSF.
Our advice is at household level and is the same even if both spouses are starting pensions. Often our Statement of Advice will cover multiple transactions being considered at once including concessional contributions, non-concessional contributions and commutations.
Should your client have more complex advice needs than a digital advice process can deal with (e.g. more than two people in an SMSF) we will be happy to discuss your client’s advice needs with you.
How to Pay
Statement of Advice orders can either be paid by the client directly or paid by the accountant and passed on. You have the option to address the invoices to the accounting firm, clients, or their SMSF.
A.S.A.P. invoices can be paid using the in-built credit card facility or by bank transfer (using the Australia Post POLi system).
What client information is required by A.S.A.P?
A.S.A.P. require the following to set up a client on our platform:
- Full name
- Date of Birth
- Contact Details (Phone number and email)
- Name of existing SMSF (and ABN if possible)
- Copies of Client ID documents (Eg. Driver’s license, passport)
When you start an advice order, our scoping process will confirm that the client is suited to receiving digital advice and provides a safe and easy way to identify exactly what client’s advice needs are. This process [patent pending] protects that accountant and meets ASIC’s requirements in RG 244, RG 255 as well as the ‘best interest duty’ requirements.
The following information is requested in our client questionnaire for each advice order:
- Details of the client objectives
- Personal information such as marital status, health status and whether the client has any financial dependents
- Existing super fund details
- Client superannuation preferences and decisions
Plus, for advice relating to an existing SMSF:
- Details on the client/s current financial position (high level cashflows, assets and liabilities)
At any time you can refer to our inbuilt ‘checklist’ for each order. This makes it easy to see what’s required and if any items or signatures are outstanding.
Contact us if you’d like to see a copy of a typical client questionnaire.
ASIC regulations are complex. There are a number of areas on which accountants should familiarise themselves since the ‘accountants exemption’ was repealed on 1 July 2016.
To assist in this area, we have produced a detailed ‘Safe use’ guide which sets out how accountants operating through an unlicensed entity can safely provide a service to their SMSF clients. The guide has been reviewed by specialist financial services lawyers Mills Oakley to ensure you can be confident using A.S.A.P. with your clients.
You can access our safe use guide here.
As per ASIC Information Sheet 216, accountants who operate through an entity that holds an AFS license must deliver their tax advice through their license. This means the client must complete a fact find and the advice must be delivered via a written Statement of Advice (or Record of Advice). In this case, using A.S.A.P. as well as this process may not be practical. However get in contact with us if you wish to discuss this in more detail.
Help to introduce A.S.A.P. to your clients
To assist you, we have produced the following materials:
- example client letter
- tips to explain A.S.A.P. to clients
A compliant advice process requires key documents to be signed by the client, including the scope agreement and client questionnaire. A.S.A.P. make this extremely easy using eSignLive as our e-signature facility. E-Signatures are becoming more and more commonplace in a business setting and eSignLive’s Australian data centre ensures that all data remains within Australia. eSignLive is part of VASCO and is used by some of the world’s most trusted and security-conscious organizations.
Our eSign process is handled automatically at key stages in the order process. The client will be sent an email with a link to the document requiring the signature. The client can download this document to keep a copy on file for themselves. Clicking the icon in the bottom left corner will take them to the field that requires signing. Then, they simply click to sign the document. A copy of the signed document will be automatically sent back to the A.S.A.P. system and can be viewed by the accountant in the ‘document store’ of the order.
If you have any queries or require more information, please call the A.S.A.P. support team on 03 6240 1575.