There is an increasing need for estate planning and trustee services for middle income Australians as the population ages and as issues such as dementia and blended families become more prevalent, says Rohan Mead, group managing director of Australian Unity.
“Historically, these kinds of services have only been available to the wealthy, with most trustee companies focusing on high net worth families; however Australian Unity has recently launched Australian Unity Trustees, a trustee company that will offer these services to all Australians,” Mr Mead said.
The services provided by Australian Unity Trustees include: estate planning; executor appointments and estate administration; financial attorney; financial and legal administration; and the establishment and management of personal, native title, community and charitable trusts.
The new trustee business forms part of Australian Unity’s Personal Financial Services group, which provides strategic financial advice, finance broking and risk broking. It is the first traditional trustee financial services licence issued this century, and the first issued since the establishment of a national licensing framework for traditional trustee activities.
The business will be led by Emma Sakellaris as general manager of Australian Unity Trustees and has established a presence across Australia.
“The services and solutions are intended to provide families with the necessary financial protection, support and peace of mind through difficult circumstances, as well as assisting with intergenerational wealth transfer and the establishment of structured giving to create a philanthropic legacy and connection to the community,” Mr Mead says.
“Our 175 year history as a mutual organisation dedicated to the financial and physical wellbeing of Australians means we are well positioned to provide this service – we already have the appropriate corporate structure and the requisite experience to operate as a fiduciary and act in our clients’ best interests.
“We see this as a natural fit for the business and a continuation of our focus on looking after the wellbeing of our members and clients,” he said.
Steve Davis, chief executive officer of Australian Unity Personal Financial Services (PFS), said the new business will assist clients’ to meet their long-term and changing needs.
“In the past, the focus of the financial advice community has been on the years immediately before and after retirement, ensuring clients have maximised their superannuation opportunities.
“The addition of estate planning and trustee services will make it easier for our advisers and accountants to fully address a complex area that has often been placed in the “too hard” basket by our industry.
“One of the other key differences in our service offering is that we are structured to work in partnership with other professional service providers such as financial advisers, accountants and lawyers. This partnership approach also helps deliver a great outcome for clients and their families who can continue to work with the professional they already trust.
“True to our values and structure as a mutual organisation, we believe we can make a significant difference to the lives of ‘middle income Australia’ and not just high net wealth individuals,” he said.