Commission refunds

Paying kickback commissions you didn't even know about? CHOICE outlines an easy way to reclaim your money.
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02.Super and managed funds

If you’re in a retail or for-profit superannuation fund, you are probably indirectly paying commissions to a financial adviser. Retail fund providers include large financial institutions such as AMP, AXA and Colonial First State.

The upfront commissions could be up to 5% from each contribution you make — all but one of the rebate companies we compared “dial down” these entry fees to nil. Superannuation trail commissions are usually about 0.5% of your fund’s balance each year – $500pa for a $100,000 super fund.

Paul Brady of commission rebate company says a trail of 1.1% or even higher is not unusual: “1.7% is the worst I’ve seen. It applied to a client who was intending to move to an industry super fund after she hadn’t seen her financial planner for a number of years.”

We’ve compared the annual trail refunds provided by these companies on different superannuation balances, assuming a 0.5% annual trail commission (see the table). The best performers for a superannuation balance up to $50,000 are:

  • Commission Refunders
  • iRefund
  • MyMoney
  • Refund Easy

For a single fund with a balance of $75,000-$200,000, Dixon Advisory offers the best refunds, ranging from $225 to $850. However, unlike most rebaters, Dixon charges $150 fee per product, so if you register for commission refunds on two managed funds and a super fund, Dixon’s fee is up to $450.

Table 1 - Commission rebate companies compared

Refund details

Companies ranked by the annual trail commission refund on example superannuation balances
Company (in rank order of trail refunds, then alphabetical) Initial commission refundTrial commission refundFrequency of refundsYears rebating commissions$20 000$50000$75 000$100 000$200 000
Refund Easy
100% 60% of first $700pa; 100% thereafter, maximum fee $280 per couple Quarterly 1 60 150 225 300 720
Commission Refunders
50% 50% of first $700pa; 100% thereafter Half-yearly 8* 50 125 187.5 250 650
100% 50% of first $790pa; 100% thereafter Annually 2 50 125 187.5 250 605
100% 50% of first $480pa; 100% thereafter Monthly 1** 50 125 187.5 260 760
100% 50% of first $590pa; 100% thereafter Annually 4 50 125 187.5 250 705
Dixon Advisory
100% 0% of first $150pa; 100% thereafter, per product Annually 15 (A) 100 225 350 850
OTHER COMPAINIES (in alphabetical order)
100% Case by case for investments of at least $100,000 Varies 13       Varies Varies
Commission Rebate
100% 0% of first $100; 75% thereafter, maximum annual fee $350 Annually <1 (A) 112.5 206.25 300 675
Up to 100% 0% na 6          
Investsmart TrailCap
100% 0% of first $300pa; 50% thereafter Annually 10 (A) (A) 37.5 100 350
Rebate Financial Services
100% 50% of total amount, once the trails exceed $20 per month Four-monthly 15 (A) 125 187.50 250 500

Table notes

Assuming 0.5% annual trail commission.

na - Not applicable.

* Commission Refunders has been trading for less than a year, but its parent company has been refunding commissions for eight years.

** Trading for approximately one year, however management involved in rebating commissions for over ten years

(A) - The trail commission is less than the rebate company’s minimum fee.

Table 2 - Company details
Refunds available onSpecifications
Company (in rank order of trail refunds)Superannuation Managed funds Margin loans Life insuranceShare TradingMortgageGeneral insurancePersonal advice offered separately
Commission Refunders
Yes Yes Yes Yes       Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
Yes Yes Yes Yes        
Refund Easy
Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes   Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Dixon Advisory
Yes Yes   Yes       Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Commission Rebate
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes
Yes Yes           Yes
Investsmart TrailCap
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Rebate Financial Services
Yes Yes Yes Yes (B)     Yes

Table notes

(B) Through wrap accounts, a type of financial product that “wraps” all your investments into one account.

Managed funds

Similar commission rates apply to managed funds. But even if you bypass advisers and invest with the fund manager directly, the high entry fee of up to 5% usually still applies. Instead of passing it as a commission to a salesperson, the fund manager keeps the commission for itself.

Using rebate companies and discount brokers can work out cheaper, or you could invest in a low fee fund that doesn’t pay kickbacks.

Several companies in the table don’t generally refund managed (or super) fund trails, but they scrap entry fees. Some promote themselves as fund “supermarkets”, displaying various investment funds on their websites and abolishing entry fees, making investing in their selected funds cheaper than going through an adviser or directly to the fund manager. These fund supermarkets don’t provide advice, but some offer third-party research to customers to help their investment decisions.


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