COVID-19: Adviser updates

A message to our customers

During this difficult time we are committed to continuing to provide our services, systems and products to you so that you can continue to serve your clients. We have business continuity plans in place and our team remains available to help you and your business at this challenging time.

To help you stay informed and to support your client conversations we will load new information and updates onto this page over the coming weeks.

For latest government announcements visit the Department of Health web page.

Practice management

Kathy Vincent, BT's General Manager Platforms, Investments & Operations explains how Australian advisers have rapidly adapted to the impacts of COVID-19, including how technology has transformed and enhanced behaviours and relationships between advisers and clients.

Article: https://fsc.org.au/news/future-of-advice-bt
Video: https://youtu.be/9HyyEVVQa_c

Download these steps to help your business take action to respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. 

Fraudsters often use world events, such as COVID-19, to lure people to click on links or download attachments, resulting in malware being downloaded to devices. Stay vigilant and use these tips to protect against cyber-attacks:

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be extra wary of email attachments
  • Use trusted sources, such as legitimate, government websites or our Westpac Group Intranet, for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19
  • Don't reveal personal or financial information in email, and don't respond to email solicitations for this information, and
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.

Market and technical updates

The Government has announced an extension of stimulus measures to keep more people in employment and to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19.

JobKeeper payments for individuals
JobKeeper payments for business

BT’s technical team has produced an overview of the proposed ‘HomeBuilder’ program including who can access it.

Our technical team has produced an overview of the Government’s latest stimulus package, JobKeeper payments for individuals and for businesses.

BT's technical team have produced a summary of the fiscal stimulus measures available to support individuals impacted as a result of COVID-19. 

Share markets have continued to recover from the losses we experienced in March, although we’re yet to see certainty and confidence at pre COVID-19 levels return.

Register now to explore the key EOFY considerations which you may need to consider for your clients to ensure they are well positioned into the new financial year.

Updates on our products and services

Clients can now request early access to their super via the ATO. There are a few points to be aware of if you have a client who will be submitting a request.

For your information, if you or your client requested a change to their pension payments, that client will automatically receive a letter confirming the change. This includes where you may have changed their pension payment frequency to June 2020 to avoid further pension payments before our system solution was available on 20 April 2020. You may wish to contact these clients and position with them that the letter is reflective of the deferred payment approach.

We’re pleased to advise that platforms forms that require a client signature can now be signed digitally and submitted electronically.

To help you enact the Government’s temporary reduction of pension minimums we’ve put together instructions for reducing pension minimums on BT Wrap, Asgard and BT Panorama platforms.

Interest rates on BT Platform transaction accounts will be reducing effective 7 April in response to the RBAs recent decision to decrease the Official Cash Rate. For Open badges there will also be a temporary change to the calculation of administration fees.

Read more

The Government has announced a package of measures to provide assistance to Australians financially impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Here we provide an overview of those changes and how clients can access the relief measures.

This page provides answers for some of the questions we are receiving with regards to COVID-19 and life insurance.

Westpac has announced a relief package for customers who are impacted by COVID-19, including the freezing of mortgages for people who lose their job, higher interest rate term deposits for over 65s or credit options for small businesses.

Information for your clients

Read this Frequently Asked Questions document to help you understand the changes relating to the Government’s temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates for account-based pensions and similar products.

Tips with managing your people and maintaining your workforce during COVID-19.

As an investor, there are good reasons to spread your money across a variety of different asset classes.

As part of our COVID-19 support effort we are sending communications to clients on topics such as the reduced pension minimums. We have made copies of these communications available here.

We have answered some of the common questions clients ask about market volatility in this document which you can download and share with your clients.

The Government will allow eligible individuals affected by the COVID-19 related down turn to apply to have limited access to their superannuation savings. The amount each person can access will be a single payment capped at up to $10,000 in 2019-20. A further single payment of up to $10,000 can be accessed in 2020-21 for approximately 3 months (timing depends on the passage of relevant legislation).

Super members will be able to access their superannuation under these circumstances if they are: unemployed; or eligible to receive a jobseeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or the farm household allowance; on or after 1 January 2020 they were made redundant or their working hours were reduced by 20% or more or if they are a sole trader where their business was suspended or there was a reduction in their turnover of 20% or more. Access can be obtained through MyGov online. No tax will be payable on amounts released and money withdrawn will not affect welfare payments.

The Government has also announced a temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates for account-based pensions and similar products. This will be a 50% reduction in the rate for 2019-20 and 2020-21, which the government says will benefit retirees by providing them with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.

Download the early access to superannuation COVID-19 for your clients (PDF)

Read the full fact sheet from treasury.gov.au on these changes (PDF)

Bryan Ashenden, BT’s Head of Financial Literacy and Advocacy, provides an overview of the stimulus measures for individuals announced by the Government in response to COVID-19.

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Other websites you might find helpful

Support measures available to Westpac customers.

Support measures available to Westpac business customers.

Detailed summary of tips to assist small businesses.

Media releases including changes to FASEA exams and guidance on CPD changes.