We are re-publishing this Q &A for the benefit of our many new readers.
Q: I have worked in super for quite a few years, and have just stumbled on your website. It’s very informative, and will hopefully help consumers navigate our quagmire of a super system. Just one comment though – ASIC runs the website www.fido.gov.au which has a great deal of info about super and comparing different funds – would you not consider them independent? They are certainly not beholden to any particular super fund or adviser.
Trish’s response: Yes, our claim to be the only independent website for consumers on superannuation is a big claim but I stand by it.
ASIC’s site, MoneySmart, is an excellent site but it is a broader site about anything to do with financial services, and not only on superannuation. The more salient point is that ASIC is not an independent site, despite its excellent information. Even so, apart from SuperGuide, MoneySmart and NICRI (www.nicri.org.au) are the closest thing to independent sites.
In relation to the independence claim, I can write any considered views I choose (subject to legal restrictions) on any part of the industry or government – ASIC cannot do this because they are government run. They are not permitted to express particular points of view. That is the ‘independent’ difference, and this is what many of the thousands of people I have met over the years have asked for – an independent view from someone who knows a lot about super and the industry, and is willing to express that view.
For example, I can express what I think of the recent super review announced by the Government, or the superannuation policies of the political parties, while ASIC cannot.
The use of the word ‘independent’ has been misused so often that it can be difficult to know who, and what, is really independent.
I do not run a financial organisation, and nor am I financed by a financial organisation, or financially benefit from any information from the site. I am not funded by any government.
We do accept advertising however, in a similar way that a newspaper does, so our independence remains intact. I also receive revenue from any books that are sold via the site.
That’s independence and no other site on superannuation can make this claim.
Many thanks for your question.