COVID-19: Information for Advisers

Current update

Monday 11am, 30 March 2020

General

We are not accepting cheques

Due to most Netwealth staff working from home, potential delays in mailing service and the distancing rules being followed, we are:

  • Not accepting the receipt of cheques
  • Nor issuing cheques

We encourage you to make the switch to our online deposit and payment facilities, such as 'Pay anyone' EFT or BPAY® payments.

Updating client email and mobile records

During this time it is very important that your clients are getting the appropriate communications in a timely manner. To this end, please ensure your clients' details are up to date, especially their email and phone numbers by simply logging into the online adviser portal.

Pension limit and early super release

Minimum drawdown rates for income streams reduced by 50%

The Government has announced a 50% reduction of the minimum drawdown rates for account-based pensions. You can read more about it in our recent technical paper. 

We can’t pre-empt which clients will want to immediately alter their payments, so Netwealth will manage this change as follows:

  • Clients previously receiving minimum payments will continue to be paid that specific dollar amount (which effectively becomes their nominated payment amount).
  • In the coming days, we’ll provide you with a list of clients previously receiving minimum payments - you can update the list with new payment details for each client (i.e. reduce payments to the new minimum, or cease payments for the remainder of the financial year) and return it to us as a bulk instruction.
  • Instructions received by close of business on Wednesday 8 April will apply from the April 2020 payment cycle onwards.
Early release of super on compassionate grounds

The Federal Government has announced temporary changes to the early release of super conditions for individuals as part of its COVID-19 response. Under these new rules, eligible investors can lodge their application for early release of superannuation to the ATO via the myGov website. The ATO will provide release authorities to us progressively, and we’ll ensure payments are processed to clients as matter of a priority.

The Contact Centre is going remote and to the cloud

Over the past month our Contact Centre has been busily moving to a new cloud-based platform. We are pleased that it is about to go live in the coming days. The changes you should expect include:

  • A resumption to our normal operating hours, that is 8:30am - 7:00pm AEDT Mon-Thur and 8:30am - 6:30pm AEDT Friday 
  • Emails you will receive from us are in a new template
  • A FAQ help centre to provide quick information on regularly asked questions 

Helping you work virtually

COVID-19 has changed the way we work and interact with clients in the space of a few short weeks.  As many of us transition to working from home, conducting virtual meetings with clients and generally reducing the physical interaction we have with others, Netwealth have reviewed how we can assist you in an increasingly virtual world.

We will accept electronic signatures on most document types 

It is important to note that digital signatures are accepted on the majority of Netwealth forms and documents, as long as you have uploaded it using the secure document upload facility in the online adviser portal.

Unfortunately, we require 'wet' signatures for a few forms, including when opening a Wealth Accelerator account for an individual (companies and regulated trusts are ok), in-specie transfer documents and where a certified signature needs to be present (normally for client identification).

Learn more

Older information updates

Monday 10am, 23 March 2020 

Operational Update

As the COVID-19 situation and Government response continues to evolve, please note the following important information which we will update as and when new information becomes available.

  • Netwealth remains operational and we continue to provide all of our services to you and your clients, however we are experiencing an increased volume of enquiries so please be aware that there may be additional wait time by phone and if your matter is urgent you can email contact@netwealth.com.au
  • All online transacting and reporting capability remains available for use by you and your clients via the Netwealth website
  • In the event we need to vacate our Melbourne Head Office fully, we will continue providing all services (subject to the shortlist of operational changes detailed further below)
  • Netwealth remains in a strong financial position with no debt, substantial cash on hand and profitable.

Please note that during this challenging and unprecedented time, our priority is ensuring our staff and their families remain safe and that we can continue to operate and deliver services to you and your clients.

While we will seek to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible, please understand that due to the volume of enquiries we are currently receiving, you may experience some delays.

As we wait for further information over the coming days, we will continue to enact the progressive stages of our pandemic plan and will remain fully operational.

We currently have a substantial number of staff working remotely and accessing all necessary systems securely. Importantly, by COB today, 95% of our staff will be able to work from home, and we are working on provisioning the remaining staff members today.

At this stage, critical staff remain working in our offices, but we have undertaken strict segregation measures, splitting functional teams into groups which are distributed across different floors and buildings.

As required, we will move into the next stage of our plan, which would involve the majority of our staff to work remotely with minimal impact on their day to day role and our service delivery.

If we are not able to operate from the head office, please note the following important operational changes which would apply:

1. Contact Centre

In response to COVID-19, an increased number of our staff are working remotely, and this temporarily limits our capacity to handle inbound phone calls.

Our Contact Centre will remain open between 08:30 AEDT and 19:00 AEDT to attend to email enquiries. If your matter is urgent, you can email contact@netwealth.com.au and request for us to call you back.

Effective immediately, our Contact Centre will be available to accept inbound calls between 09.00 AEDT and 17.00pm AEDT.

Work is underway to provide our Contact Centre staff with the capability to accept inbound calls while working remotely, and we expect our capacity for handling inbound calls will be restored within the week.

Please note, these changes relate only to inbound calls. For all other activities, our staff will be fully operational while working remotely.

While we will seek to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible, please understand that due to the volume of enquiries we are currently receiving, you may experience some delays.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

2. Processing Times

For reasons listed above, you may experience some delays in normal processing times. We will be working hard to ensure we keep these to a minimum. We will also ensure we prioritise time-critical requests where possible.

Superannuation FAQ

Early access to superannuation for clients facing financial distress due to COVID-19

On 22 March, the Federal Government announced that individuals facing financial distress due to COVID-19 could apply for early access for up to $10,000 of their superannuation (tax-free) in both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.

We are already receiving a high volume of queries about this new measure.

If this legislation is passed (as expected) in the near term, please be aware that eligible investors will need to lodge their application for early release of superannuation to the ATO via the MyGov website. Based on the information that is currently available, implementation of these changes is scheduled for mid-April 2020.

Once the ATO starts issuing early-release authorities to Netwealth, we will process those payments to investors as a matter of priority.

These are difficult times, and we are committed to supporting you and your clients. As always, please let me know if you have questions or feedback.

For more information, click here to view Federal Government announcement.

General Update

Despite recent adverse equity markets, Netwealth Group remains in a very strong financial position, is debt-free and has significant cash at bank.

Our net inflows have continued to be very strong this quarter at $2.9bn and year to date $7.3bn.

While net inflows have been offset by the negative market movement of $3.9bn this quarter, our revenue and profitability remain resilient due to the increased volume in transactions and ancillary revenues. To view our recent ASX announcement click here.

It is important to note that Netwealth will absorb the RBA’s rate cut by 25bps concerning our client’s cash transaction account. Therefore transactional cash will not be going into negative as a result of last weeks RBA announcement.