What can I do about high & hidden fees being charged to my Clearview Retirement Fund?

Following the revelations during the Royal Commission, I reviewed the statements sent to me by my Superannuation Fund (Clearview) to determine what fees were being deducted. I was concerned to find that between $50 and $60 dollars was being deducted, from a balance of about $140k, each month for ‘Adviser Service Fees’ despite my having sought advice from them only once, in 2014.

I had enquired about the fees being charged previously, in 2013, but had received no reply. When I enquired again earlier this month (May 2018) and requested that the fees being charged be reviewed, I was advised that the fees were in accordance with the prospectus that I had signed and I was sent a detailed record of those fees since 2014.

I had read the prospectus in detail before signing it, but I did not realise at that time (many years ago) the extent or magnitude of the fees that were revealed. Since January 2014, $6,337 has been deducted from my account, including being for an Administration Fee, an Investment Fee, an Investment Portfolio Service Fee, and an Ongoing Adviser Service Fee / Ongoing Member Advice Fee.

I have subsequently been advised by Clearview that my complaint has been registered by them as a complaint about my adviser, rather than as a complaint regarding the magnitude of the fees with regard to the advice that I had requested and received. They also advised that this complaint would be investigated in accordance with their internal complaint handling procedure, and that they would contact me within 45 days.

I believe that Clearview’s response to my request that the fees being charged be reviewed has been inadequate, and evasive in registering the complaint as concerning my dissatisfaction with the adviser rather than with the fees charged for advice not received.

At this point I would really like to obtain advice regarding how I may deal with this, how I might obtain disinterested advice, and if it might be possible to transfer my account to a different provider that will not charge fees of such a magnitude. I’m at a loss to know what my options might be.

I am retired now and reliant upon the income from this fund to augment the government pension that I’ve found is inadequate to live upon. If my account continues to haemorrhage money as it is doing it will not serve me into the future as I had anticipated that it would.


Hi @datashet, that’s a real shame that your complaint hasn’t been handled correctly. Whether it’s a case of mismanaged handling or worse, you have a few options for some independent advice. Firstly, you could give the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) a call on 03 8635 5580 and hear what they have to say. You could also try ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630 or even the FOS.

If it’s an incorrect charge, you could be due a refund or you could try arguing directly with them again on the basis that the fee is unfair (and be ready to switch if they don’t want to discuss things reasonably with you). Generally speaking, the total fees as you have described are higher than some funds - there are a number of super providers offering in the vicinity of 0.5 percent or less. However, across all funds average fees typically tend to be in the vicinity of 1.0 - 1.2% of the total balance, which seems to be in the vicinity of what you have described. Of course, I’ll mention for the record that the services, insurance and expected ongoing performance of any particular fund is a a relevant factor when assessing the costs.

Good luck - please keep us informed with how you progress.


Thanks Brendan. I guess that what has my back up is that;

  • I am paying so much in fees for advice, a service that I’ve hardly used, Basically, regardless of whether or not these fees are ‘normal’, or that they were included in the prospectus that I signed - is it fair or even honest that I am charged an ongoing fee that is unrelated to the sum in my account regardless of whether or not I’ve used that advice service.
  • There are so many administrative fees built into their billing, some of which are not obvious from the reports that I get. Even the reports I generate & download from their website myself.

Clearview have advised me that I can withdraw from the advice option (this is the first time that I’ve been advised that it is optional), but I am yet to determine what the implications of doing so might be.

By the independent advice that I referred to I meant financial planning advice from an adviser who does not take commissions from superannuation providers. I think that, given the amount of corruption in the industry that has been thrown up recently I’d rather pay someone for genuinely disinterested advice - but how might I be sure that any advice that I obtain will be genuinely independent?

Thanks for the above links - I’ll see what they have to say, & will post comments on my findings.


Following my contacting Clearview about this, the local representative who is my nominated adviser contacted me & asked to meet to discuss the matter. I understand that he is not a Clearview employee, but is commissioned by them to take on the role of adviser in Canberra. He had discontinued the taking of fees from my account for the purpose of advice, and said that the company now discontinues taking advice fees if no advice is sought by policy holders for a period of two months. He said that I may contact him at any time when I do require advice, and we can agree to a one off fee for that service. I found him very accommodating and appreciated his involvement - and I reiterated that contrary to Clearview’s comments I had no concerns regarding his services, my gripe was with Clearview’s policy on the matter.

Clearview have also advised that if a policy holder opts out of paying ongoing fees for advice (receiving ongoing advice appears to be the default option and has to be opted out of), they revert to charging a ~$200 annual administration fee for not receiving advice. I’m not sure how they justify that.