State Super has boosted its fee income by linking products to overpriced and pretty lame financial advice services. I have been charged for financial advice services not provided on many occasions. State Super self disclosed fees for no service to avoid royal commission scrutiny. Getting my money back has been a draining experience. As soon as I have my money I will join an industry fund - avoid this fund- they are a bad smell from the eighties.
Ok but you could do better.....
I was a commonwealth employee for 34 years under the comsuper scheme. State super financial services, now State plus are contracted to look after the financial advice etc for comsuper.
Now as a private super fund things are a bit different. I have never kept a financial advisor for more than one appointment, they just disappear and I have found out at a much later date. I really cant keep up it it really annoys me.
Personally I kept asking myself, are they trying to steer me in a direction that maximises their profit and not mine? Never con...vinced my self either way but I always feel uneasy about how advice is tilted. The advice I got was ok but I did a lot of research and virtually had to argue what I wanted/needed, this is not the way to do business. I think I can do better so it will be bon voyage to them soon
Very Poor Treatment of Reversionary Beneficiary
My Spouse opened an Allocated Pension Fund on his retirement in 2012 and nominated me as his Reversionary Beneficiary. While he was alive we were quite satisfied with the fund. I expected that the transfer would be automatic but since his death in July 2019 I have been treated with contempt by this Company. Firstly they told me that there was no Nomination on the Fund although they had been listing me on the Centrelink Statement each year. When I challenged this they ignored me until I hired a Solicitor to write to them. They only responded to ...her after two more requests for response. Having finally admitted I was the rightful beneficiary they gave a phone number for me to ring and set up an appointment to complete the transfer. I was told they were "very busy"and it would be some time before I could get an appointment but the Manager would call me back the next day. No call has eventuated. I would not recommend them to anyone.
I have recently been reading the on line State Plus reviews and have been shocked by the negative tone of some reviewers as this is totally at odds with my own experience.
I have been a client of State Plus at Gosford for a long time and for the last few years my advisor has been Bradley. He has done a wonderful job in guiding me through retirement at aged 60 then returning to work part time and his financial advice has proven to be very sound.
I have a Flexible Income Plan with State Plus. I draw out 4% each month as a pension payment ...and I have also made several one off lump sum withdrawals for home renovations etc. from the account and my balance has stayed pretty healthy. I could not be happier! My account was originally being debited a small amount each month for financial advice and I was meeting up fairly regularly with Bradley after my retirement but as everything was running so smoothly, I decided to forgo the one on one meetings with Bradley to save on fees. As a result my account is no longer being debited for financial planning fees. I can still make an appointment to see Bradley if the need so arises in the future and I would be charged a one off fee for this at the time. My advice to anyone reading the reviews is to bear in mind that lots of clients with positive reviews of State Plus may not post them on line.
Poor returns, high fees on allocated pensions
I had an allocated pension with StatePlus for 10 years. I'm sorry I didn't do more research on the performance of super-funds before I joined, but I was sort of hurried into it by a previous employer when I resigned from full-time work. The Royal Commission last year into financial services got me motivated. I discovered this fund does not perform wonderfully, probably in an average range and its investment fees are higher than many other funds.
I have now switched to another industry fund that has better performance (and I did look at this ove...
Choose a better performing fund
Been with this mob since 2012. I recently moved to a better performing industry fund.
Handy hint. Ask your new fund to move your money across. Don't talk to State Plus.
I have been taking the minimum 4% allocated pension, but in recent years my lump sum has been shrinking. It should have been growing.
So the gross return has been less than 4% plus the 1.6% fees. Meanwhile the median return of all super funds has been around 6.5%.
I was sent a list of the 10 worst performing funds in 2017-18. State Plus was on it.
On top of that I have had a different adviser every year when my annual review came up and this year they forgot to remind me the review was due. I found half my fees are for 'advice'.
Failure to repay fees for no service
Been with the fund for 50 years! They refuse to acknowledge I was charged fees for no service and all they are concerned about is avoiding any responsibility and compensation (the critical point I have continued to impress upon them is that I was never told I was being charged for the services I continually declined). They have absolutely no reciprocal loyalty for their clients and do not address personal issues. I would be interested to know how many of the 40000 odd clients they are assessing get compensation and what their circumstances were.... Very interesting too that there is currently a barrage of positive advertisements on facebook - have never seen such advertising by stateplus since the brc. I suggest this is in response to mistrust and disloyalty they have to their clients! Would be more beneficial to publish the results of the review they are conducting. Not one bit happy with a fund I have been with for so long and have a substantial account with. I am planning a move to another fund with cheaper fees and better growth results. They couldn't give a damn regarding my intentions!
Lack on contact, bad returns, fees for no service
My husband and I have been with StatePlus since 2014. Our financial adviser left and we were not told by Canberra Office. This office used to be responsive but since the move to Nishi it is very difficult to get anything out of them, let alone a return phone call. Both my husband and I have left messages for contact with no results. We are both considering moving our money out of this fund to a more customer-focussed fund that has better returns and lower fees.
Am a new member and find the returns to be very poor and my fund is decreasing despite being assured that as a retiree drawing a monthly pension, my funds are in safe portfolios. I get the impression that the fund managers are not managing the funds well and hence their investments are risky. I am disappointed having them manage my super.
Non disclosure enabling Financial Advisor to act in self interest and keep me on bundled product
Been with this mob for 13 years and had a change of financial advisor. The new advisor disclosed my options and fee structure. Immediately realised I had been kept in the dark and been manipluated to benifit the previous advisor. The product had changed 5 years ago and could have been unbundled but this option was not disclosed until there was a change of advisor. Effectively this meant paying for fees that I did not value nor need resulting in a significant loss. After complaining and getting nowhere have escalated to the STC and am awaiting outcome.
Become more complex to monitor
Been in Allocated Pension (Balanced) for many years, paying for financial advice that I didn't really need. Now moved to the Fixed Income Plan product which includes billable financial advice (ie: if no advice, no fee). Returns are lower than Australian Super (7% / 12%), but exposure to risk would be lower. Admin performance lets them down.
Where are our ANNUAL statements from last financial year???
Still in my email inbox sits the email of 10 September 2018 stating that I should disregard all previous mentions of my 2017-18 annual statement and that it would be ready shortly. Nothing has happened. Every two weeks I ring the 1800 number to a call centre which seems to be fielding queries from all sorts of funds, each time to be told it will be ready shortly. Anyone joining this fund nowadays must be nuts!!! Warn your heirs and successors, fellow retirees. It was good as State Super Financial Services, seems shonkier by the week ever since as we are merged and acquired and are told the new logo/service/location/login/website are all "exciting".
SSFS to Stateplus
I have ben drawing an allocated pension from SSFS/Stateplus since 2007. Since the change I find that the returns are poorer and the fees are fairly high. 1.4% on their balanced fund. Higher returns mask high fees and perhaps justify the fees if the higher returns can be maintained.
Looking at my situation I draw an allocated pension of about $1900/month and on my balance of about $440000 attract fees in the order $6000/ annum or $513/month. Therefore it is costing me $500/month to pay me $1900/month with my own money. Good value for money? I...think not. As I am drawing a part CSS pension I am effected by the Jan 2015 changes on how Super balances are treated for assessment to the aged pension. If you were receiving an allocated pension prior to the 1 Jan 2015 deadline your balance was grandfathered and the previous conditions prevailed for assessment regarding the aged pension. However if you wanted to change your Super fund and changed providers the post Jan 1 2015 regime would apply to your roll over balance regarding the calculation of the part aged pension This has the effect of trapping you in your fund otherwise you will be assessed under the new ruleswhich in my case meant losing most of the part aged pension. This of course is not the fault of Stateplus but I cannot remember my financial adviser warning me of the implications of these changes which should have been part of their duty to put the financial interests of the client first. Clearly this did not happen in this case
State Plus, a private fund
We were led to believe that this fund was an Industry Fund, which it is not. I have been on an allocated pension for almost 8 years and only recently found out that my free annual meetings were costing me in the vicinity off 5k a year on top of poor returns and high fees. The staff have always been very polite and appear to be helpful,that is until you decide to transfer your funds to a better performing fund. The final straw came when I received a letter in the mail advising me that almost 5k had been refunded to me as I didn't have my annual ...meeting in 2015, it is now 2018. This is at a time when the Royal Commission into Banking is happening! State Plus have had notification of my instructions to transfer funds for 3 weeks despite the fact that legally they are required to transfer funds within 24-48 hours. I have been told on several occasions that everything is in order and the transfer will take place. Now there is a freeze on all processing. The sooner This is settled the better.
Back office fails
We have had a string of problems all related to the back office. Alas it seems that the Canberra Office has little connection with its customers. This is most recently highlighted by the move to the Nishi Building. Who in their right mind would move a business that is suposed to be focuessed around client needs to a location where the parking is limited? The web site suggests 1.3km from bus interchange. Have the forgotten the large number of retired clients? Time to move on.
- Verified customer
Sound financial advice
I found State Plus has provided me with helpful and consistent advice. Thus was especially true during the GFC when it was tempting to move the funds. I changed planner when my long time planner retired and the transition to a new planner was fine. I’ve done very well out of State Plus - well done guys.
Incompetent or dodgy?
We have been with State Super for many years mainly with one adviser. It worked very well for us until just before the global crisis. Because advisers are given a bonus to keep you in the less secure growth funds, our adviser became aggressive regarding our desire to take a safer course. Since the name change to State Plus service and even before, we had a succession of different, less personal advisers.
We decided to transfer our funds and that is when we really became concerned. We had advice in Nov the funds had been transferred. ...Two weeks later "the cheque's in the post" we were told. More than three weeks later after emails, phone calls and finally a threat to go to the financial ombudsman, a manager organised the transfer within 24 hours. As it was a considerable sum, and we had missed out on earnings for nearly a month, we asked for compensation. A resolution was promised within 45 days. After more emails we agreed to an offer however that has not eventuated so we are taking our complaint to the financial ombudsman.
My wife and I have been with State Superannuation/State Plus in Canberra for nearly 12 years since 2005. Over this time and due to a high turnover of staff, we have been bounced from one Financial Planner to another, which has not allowed for consistency in advice on our investments, especially during the period of the GFC. When we have been able to finally find professional and committed Financial Planners that understand our needs, they ended up leaving the Canberra Office due to apparent management issues.
After only 18 months ago final...ly deciding to move our accounts to the well managed and high performing Woden Office of State Plus (where we finally found an excellent and professional Financial Planner), the Canberra Regional Manager without any consultation with clients, in December wrote to us advising us of ce us of the closure of the Woden Office and telling us we must again use the most inconvenient Canberra Office we had only recently left. As a consequence of the Woden Office closure in December, most of the staff from that office have since left State Plus, including once again our Financial Planner of only 18 months, causing us a great deal of inconvenience, anger and stress. Due to my past concerns falling on deaf ears, it appears State Plus HQ don't care about the problems in Canberra and the impact they have on their staff and in particular the Canberra regional clients. If it wasn't for the excellent service of few a individual and now departed Financial Planners, and our late stage in life, we would have left the company long ago. We are now seriously considering that option.
Check out the figures - if you can
With my wife having some money in HESTA and a lot of money with StatePlus it appeared to me that StatePlus's performance appeared lacking, so I decided to do a comparison. This was an eye opener!
Whilst the staff at StatePlus seem friendly and helpful enough, their website appears to be designed to confuse and make it VERY difficult to compare their organisations returns with others in the market place; I cannot even find any long-term performance results - surely their funds didn't all just magically appear about three years ago!
Anyway,...after muddling through their information it would appear that, with a very similar asset class mix, my wife can get at least a 50%, and possibly 100%, better return with other leading (industry) funds. This would mean many, many thousands of dollars additional growth in our nest egg each year
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Questions & Answers
Was with SSFS which changed to Stateplus - Stateplus not returning anything - account on $450,00.00 is losing money - I have an allocated pension - can I change to another fund. I receive health card etc - but no centrelink pension
Yes, can definitely change providers - no exit fees from Stateplus. It would be prudent to check some of the larger funds operating such as Sun Super, Australian Super, Uni Super or the like. Basically should be aiming to lower fees and have a fund that has decent long term performance. In the current climate - for any retiree - risk management should still be key - but nonetheless can still have your money working for you. Advice should be not bias on product - that is difficult when in Stateplus your advisers are being paid by the fund itself - so if the fund is not working in your favour, they would not be advising you to change. Any more info - feel free to contact me on 04301 90009. Even a 1% difference amounts to a lot in dollar terms, problem is that the industry makes it awfully complicated to cipher through the information. Even option names are misleading, as in industry funds one balanced fund is different to another balanced fund. Main objective though for retirees, should be to have peace of mind and manage risk on their life savings - which across most funds can be done.
The other aspect is to ensure advice is separate from the product investments, this was an initiative that came out in July 2013 and as a result funds have had to change the way they charge on investments to ensure that advice related charges are separate. Hence the onslaught of re-funding clients advice related charges for no advice provided. Important to build a relationship with an adviser that delivers on service, as opposed to just charges.
Does anyone think StatePlus is a worthwhile organisation to handle their money? I think there has been much undisclosed information since the legislation changed in 2015. There appears to be a lot of unhappy clients.
For precisely the above reasons we moved to Unisuper. Eight years with State Plus cost us almost 40k in undisclosed fees.......and this was only where we could really pick up what fees were really being levied. When we really pressed them and compared more visible fees we discovered that they were very high. Consistent Market performance at the bottom end of the spectrum was also a concern. We accept that no one can be at the top indefinitely and that this years loser could be next years winner...BUT....eight years at the end of the spectrum??
StatePlus was originally State Super Financial Services and I am not convinced the change has been good for investers as their balanced fund performance last year was close to 5% after fees where as other funds were achieving over 8%. The fees are about average but not as low as some of the industry funds As a rough example I draw about $1800/month from my RO fund which costs $6000/annum or $500/month to manage and receive yearly financial advice. This seems excessive to me
I was caught by the Jan 2015 changes which grandfathered your existing arrangements but if you want to change your super provider the new arrangements come into force and part pensions can be reduced significantly. In summary I think fees charged by Superfunds is excessive for very ordinary returns and as far as I know there is no way of reducing them by say not having the financial advice which is basically 40% growth, 60% defensive and drawing your pension payment from a cash fund to avoid selling growth assets when the equity markets are down as they are now.
Thank you for your interest in StatePlus.
With more than 60,000 clients and over 25 years of experience in planning for retirement, we’ve helped thousands of Australians get the most of their superannuation schemes and achieve their desired lifestyle in retirement.
Our clients have given us a 96% satisfaction score*, one of the highest of any financial company in the world. The industry has seen enormous change in recent times. We believe in transparency with our clients and are committed to continuously reviewing and improving our processes and services.
Why not attend one of our seminars to learn more about the benefits of a good financial plan. You can sign up for a seminar near you through our website https://www.stateplus.com.au/find-a-seminar
Once again, thank you for your question. If we can be of further assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
*StatePlus TNS Client Service Survey RYQ2 2017 Report
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