As the year draws to a close, we reflect on the mayhem of 2021 – and the new normal that the pandemic has bought to us. We’ve all become experts at wearing masks, checking in, having Phone and Zoom meetings and sanitising our lives.
Every decade big things happen, and this decade has been no different. We’ve been influenced by the pandemic, financial crises, politics and wars – all of which are, sadly, perfectly normal.
Through all these changes, the team here at WSP Group have continued to focus on the longer term outlook for clients and ourselves, while improving resilience against short-term obstacles and events. We have, after all, been around along time, and recently celebrated our 25th year anniversary of being in business.
The financial planning world has evolved, with major re-regulation for both the industry and Advisers. We’ve moved with those challenges and are re-defining our business and how we communicate with you, our valued clients. 2022 will bring about even more improvements in technology to make it easier to contact us and stay in touch. Stay tuned for exciting news on this in the New year.
Our goal in 2022 is to help more people, just like you. If you’ve been happy with our services, we’d love for you to let others know. Our business has grown over 25 years through referrals from existing clients, and for that we are humbly appreciative. A lot of financial planners have left the industry recently, but we are still here, and committed to continually work towards providing affordable financial planning advice that is right for you and your specific needs.
What does the New year look like for you?
Holiday trading details :
Our office will be closed from Thursday 23 December 2021, opening again on Monday 10 January 2022.
Adviser Christmas video
Each year the advisers of WSP parody themselves in a Christmas video. This years’ video can be accessed through the link below:
13 super funds failed the government regulator’s performance tests in the year ended 30th June 2021. Those funds were forced to write to their members, pointing out the performance failures and telling members to look at moving to higher-performing funds.
What is a person to do when faced with this sort of letter? Who can you turn to? What information do you need and how do you know your choices will be correct? There are so many questions for anyone receiving one of these letters. A number of media articles have highlighted the failures and the fact that only a small number of the roughly 1 million members of those funds, have actually shifted to another fund. The primary avenues for advice are:
If you wish to receive advice from a financial planner, there will be a fee payable. The financial planner will need to meet strict requirements for understanding your position, investigating options and presenting the results to you in a written Statement of Advice.
There’s a lot to consider.
For further reading, we have included below a link to an article on this topic written by one of our advisers, Michael O’Hara.
Superannuation rules in Australia have undergone some fairly dramatic changes as of the 1st July 2017. With that threshold date now behind us, let’s consider what this new world looks like..
Here is a link to a post by Michael O’Hara from his blog on all things financial. It includes links to authoritative websites and information to help clear away some of the webs that have grown around superannuation over the years. Even though the rules that started 1st July this year can be seen to be ‘yet more changes’, they are fairly straight-forward to the bulk of Australians.
To see the full post, click the image below..
If you have any questions, contact your financial planner, and they should be able to help you or direct you to the best source of further information.
You must not make a financial decision based on this post, as you could be one of the people for whom the superannuation rules are not so simple. Please see your planner.
Definitely don’t make a super payment without checking to make sure you are one of the folk for whom everything is simple!
Salary sacrifice contributions must be arranged in advance, with agreements to deal with money not yet accumulating to you – so don’t think you can just get your employer to dump a bucket of money into your super at the end of the financial year to help get you to the maximum!
GESB West State is an older type superannuation fund, with its very own set of rules and regulations and quirks. It’s not a place for the unwary but if properly investigated, it offers incredible benefits for accumulating super – especially in your later working years.
Superannuation is primarily a low-tax vehicle. It’s not the answer to every financial situation – so don’t let anyone convince you that it is!!!!!!
Nothing on this website is to be taken to be personal financial advice. It is general advice on a factual nature. You must not make a financial decision or take action to implement any strategy or product idea on this site without first undertaking suitable investigation into its appropriateness to your personal financial situation and circumstances.
Super rules change. They generally change for the benefit of keeping the overall superannuation system balanced and “fair” but that’s an ongoing job, and protecting existing super member plans and balances means that there will be a huge list of grandfathering dates and limits which can change regularly. Make sure you check that rules are current before taking any action!
While i am suggesting in this post that super rules are simple, it is only true for the majority of Australians. That still leaves many millions of Australians for whom the super rules are definitely NOT simple. So check everything before you take action – the rules of superannuation are usually heavily defined in law, and there’s little room for mistakes and usually no room for fixing accidental errors. See a planner, check with your super fund, ask your Accountant (if they are qualified) or do a lot of personal investigation.
Navigating a sea of changes in your industry can involve some fairly hard work, and a need to be flexible!
This post is the latest update for existing and prospective clients of WSP Pty Ltd on changes to the licence through which we provide financial planning services and advice. This change has been some time in the making, so for clarity here is a brief note on what is changing, and a review of our story so far.
WSP’s Licence change
As of the end of April, we will no longer be licenced with RI Advice Group Pty Ltd. For those not familiar with the licence arrangements, RI Advice Group is owned by OnePath which is in turn owned by ANZ. WSP Pty Ltd and its advisers have operated under RI Advice Group’s licence since July 2013. This will change as of the April 2017.
You may have read an earlier update (September 2016), which covered some of the reasons we were looking to move our licence away from RI Advice Group. If not, you can read the post here.
From the end of April, our licence to provide financial services and advice, will be held under the Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”) of:
Australian Financial Directions Pty Ltd, Licence No 344971 ABN 14 135 004 947.
When you visit our offices or see our advisers after April 2017, you will be provided with appropriate updates on WSP’s Financial Services Guide (“FSG”) and associated documentation that will reflect the Australian Financial Directions licence.
WSP – What has changed?
From the end of April 2017 RI Advice Group Pty Ltd will no longer be responsible for the ongoing advice provided by WSP and its advisers. From that date, Australian Financial Directions (“AFD”) will be responsible for the advice provided by WSP and its advisers.
You will continue to receive the same services and level of advice from WSP Pty Ltd and its advisers. Your existing strategies, plans, policies, accounts and servicing advisers will remain as they currently are. You will continue to meet with, discuss and correspond with the adviser you have been used to dealing with – John Claessen, Simon Tomkinson, Kerry Franklin, Tania Petrilli or Michael O’Hara or Streamline Financial Planning as a corporate authorised representative.
If you have any concerns or questions about the change, please simply raise these with your adviser.
If you would like to find out more details about the specific licences involved, you are able to do a search of the professional registers on the website of ASIC – the Australian Securities & Investments Commission at www.asic.gov.au. If you wish to look for details of RI Advice Group or AFD then search under “professional registers”/ “Australian Financial Services Licencee”. If you wish to look for details of our advisers, search under “professional registers”/ “Australian Financial Services Authorised Representative”. Alternatively, you could go to the government website www.moneysmart.gov.au and click on the link “Investing”. There you will find a long list of titles with information on financial planning and dealing with financial planners – including a link to the national register of financial planners, which includes education and experience histories for all registered financial planners in Australia today.
WSP Pty Ltd and its advisers have operated in financial planning services for many years. For those who may not be familiar with our business background, here is a brief overview of the years since our founding in 1996.
WSP Pty Ltd is the holding company operating under two business names:
Wealth & Security Planners
Streamline Financial Planning
Our business evolved from a merger of 4 partners on the 1st July 1996. The original partners were:
The expanded business operated under the business name Wealth & Security Planners, which was first registered by Michael O’Hara on the 26th May 1994.
As the business grew, the partners considered obtaining a “Dealer’s Licence” to provide financial advice and services that were not tied to any particular institution or product. In 1997 WSP moved to its own licence. Over time, other financial planning businesses were merged into our operations, while the founding advisers concentrated on providing holistic financial planning services and advice to an ever-expanding group of clients.
Kerry Franklin joined WSP in 2000, bringing into the business a wealth of credit and lending experience and knowledge and expanding our range of business services.
Over time, the directors of WSP moved with changes demanded by clients, legislation and in order to prepare for proposed financial planning changes, established Streamline Financial Planning in the year 2003. As the name suggests, this part of the business offered a streamlined set of services and advice for those clients who held traditional and legacy policies for insurance, superannuation and investment. Wealth & Security Planners continued to offer a highly personalised planning service for those seeking a higher level of ongoing support and advice.
The introduction of many changes to financial planning through the “Future of Financial Advice” (“FOFA”) reforms saw the directors of WSP decide to leave their own licence and in July 2013 moved the WSP business under the licence of a larger financial planning group – specifically RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, which is owned by OnePath, which is in turn owned by ANZ.
Over time, it became clear that our business focus and direction was not aligned with that of RI Advice Group and the ANZ, and a mutual decision was made to move our licence to another licence provider. That was in November 2015. Business procedures and legislative changes impacting bank-aligned businesses held up the licence change a number of times. However, in 2017 these hurdles were overcome and WSP Pty Ltd was finally in a position to move forward towards our longer term business goals and objectives.
The key objective is the provision of a holistic financial advice based on long term relationships and as broad as possible choice in products, accounts and strategies to help our clients manage their financial planning priorities.
After considering the range of options, including re-applying for our own licence, the decision was made to join Australian Financial Directions. The directors and key people of AFD are known to the directors of WSP Pty Ltd and our future objectives and business priorities are closely aligned.
Navigating a sea of changes in your industry can involve some fairly hard work, and a need to be flexible!
Here is an update for our existing clients, who received a note from us earlier this year regarding a shift of our authorised representative licences from RI Advice Group Pty Ltd to a Perth-based dealer group under the name of Sentry.
A bit of background
Following a review of our business operations, the directors of WSP Pty Ltd (the holding company for our two business trading names : Streamline Financial Planning and Wealth & Security Planners) had decided to move our financial advice licences to another Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”) holder. Specifically, to move from RI Advice Group Pty Ltd to Sentry Wealth. After a 6 month lead-in preparation period leading up to May this year, our corporate and individual adviser licences were ready to move to a new dealer group. However, last minute changes within the broader industry put a hold on that transfer. It is now four months later and we are still not able to confirm an actual move as yet. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It appears that most of the steps have been worked through, and it is the expectation of the directors of WSP Pty Ltd that a clear direction should be available by the end of the year.
No change as yet
For the purposes of being clear – there has been no change in the licencing so far. That means there is no change to our dealings with you, and we continue to help our clients day-to-day in sorting out their financial plans. Once we have some clarity and direction for these business changes we will again be in contact to confirm any new details we may have. It’s far less than ideal but that’s an outcome of a financial planning world that is undergoing immense change. The changes are for the most part positive, and the intent is that the general public can have more confidence in the advice they are receiving.
Why were we changing in the first place?
Our business held its own financial planning licence (called a “dealer’s licence”) for many years, until we made the decision to move to a larger licence – RI Advice Group Pty Ltd. While this change has been beneficial, it became clear that our long term business aims were not really aligned with those of the larger institutional dealers. After consulting with RI Advice, the decision was made to move to another licence – and from our business point of view, ideally one that was not aligned with the larger institutions as our focus and priority is likely to differ from that of a large institution.
How does all that impact on you?
Your adviser continues to be available for information, services, advice and help with your strategies and where applicable, various accounts.
There is no change to any policies or accounts you may hold with any one or more of the various companies that we deal with on your behalf.
The change in ‘dealer’ or AFSL holder is mainly a back-office change. Once upon a time this was not the case. Large institutions severely limited the ability of their advisers to provide advice and services to anything other than that particular institutions’ policies or accounts. This was a cause of much bias and led to perceptions of bias – even if this were not actually the case. This has been changed to a large extent, and more recent legislation has enshrined the idea of “client best interest” in the provision of personal financial advice. However, there remain substantial differences for your financial planner when making the decision of which licence to operate under, and these differences can lead to changes in where a financial planning licence should be held – asis the case with our business.
If there is any aspect of this that concerns you then please simply call our offices and speak to your adviser who will be able to clarify any difficulties you may have.
Here is a link to articles by financial planner Michael O’Hara, relating to the recent RBS report to clients that suggested global markets were headed for deflationary crises, and to sell all assets other than quality long-dated bonds.
As the 2015 holiday season draws to a close, it’s time to pause to consider what 2016 may bring.
The world of financial planning has been a world of continuous change over the past 5 years, with no indication that things will be different in the years ahead. With change comes opportunity, and our financial planners are keen to apply their expertise and experience to help you deal with whatever 2016 may bring.
We’ll update you over the coming months with the investment and economic thoughts of various experts from different corners of the financial world. Our advisers are continuously receiving updates from fund managers, analysts, research houses and mainstream media – and a number of clients have commented that they appreciate our advisers using their experience to help sort out useful information from day-to-day “noise”. With investments, savings and superannuation, it is often helpful to see how opinions on different strategies can vary across the industry. It not only helps to reduce being blinkered by the bias of any particular group but also helps to tap into the knowledge and expertise of a wider range of people who will help to cover more of the possible outcomes in a volatile world. However, we are also aware that our clients hold widely divergent views on how much information is “enough” – so please feel free to comment on what you see or to ask for specific points to be covered. Where possible, we’ll try to accommodate your preferences.
To help kick off your 2016 financial planning, here’s a link to an article published by one of our planners – Michael O’Hara – on his Michael’s Musings website blog.
In a client survey sent our in February, we asked for thoughts and comment on “social media” and Streamline Financial Planning and social media tools could be of help – if any at all?
We received feedback that suggested that the issue of “social media” can be a divisive one. While some people did not like businesses to use social media at all, there were just as many people who said that they would like more contact, and their preferred form of contact was via social media. Such a conundrum!
The figures were interesting – while 49% of respondents did not like the use of computers and social media, a full 48% did. This suggests that there is room for social media as a communication tool for advisers and clients but that this is very much an individual decision. As such, Streamline Financial Planning will be conducting follow-up surveys and making client contact to determine individual preferences. This will ensure that we deliver information, news and points of interest in the most efficient manner possible, and directly to the people who most want it.
Which “social” media are we talking about?
In a fast changing world, technology can rapidly destroy long-cherished ideas and thoughts while simultaneously offering new and exciting ways of communicating and being more productive. The term “social media” actually refers to a whole host of different software applications and programs. Examples would include :
LinkedIn – a global business network for professionals and career-minded people
Instagram – a picture sharing application that let’s you receive and share photos and images with friends, family, artists, celebrities and millions of people around the world
Facebook – the global phenomenon, with its own Hollywood movie and over a billion users
We were fascinated by the response to this question in our survey. Of those who use social media and wanted us to put more effort into this area, 100% of respondents suggested Facebook as their preferred vehicle. How’s that for a resounding vote of confidence in a service?!
What next for Streamline Financial Planning and social media?