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QAR needs to consider specialisation of SMSF advice

By May 19, 2023June 8th, 2023In the Media, Industry, SMSF Adviser

Written by Keeli Cambourne
Published by SMSF Adviser on 19 May 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

As the debate continues to rage around the Quality of Advice Review, an SMSF industry expert has suggested the Government needs to consider the speciality aspect involved in sector.

In the latest SMSF Adviser podcast, Aaron Dunn, CEO of Smarter SMSF, said the current proposals from the Government go against the reason the reforms were put in place in the first place.

“We’ve heard some views from the SMSF Association that suggested that this idea of an experience-only pathway kind of goes against why those reforms were put in place in the first place in terms of increasing professional standards and education for advisors,” he said.

“I guess from the SMSF point of view, it has been, for a long time, trying to acknowledge the fact that when you think about those that can advise in the SMSF space, there’s a level of specialisation that occurs.

“And then we’re seeing the FAAA advocating for a long-time for the recognition of experienced advisors, and the fact we’ve seen a huge attrition in the industry.”

Mr Dunn said he understands the Government is trying to find a balance but, in terms of what the SMSF Association said in its submission, it also needs to ensure, that it recognises there are pockets of the industry that have a level of specialisation.

“It’s the old analogy where you’ve got general practitioners, and then you have surgeons,” he said.

“It’s about finding the right level of experience, and then finding the right levels of specialties into those areas, because you don’t want a general practitioner advising on speciality surgical techniques.

“SMSFs are unique and have their own complexities so you want to ensure that you’re engaging with those that are suitably qualified to be able to provide that advice.

“It is a juggling act that the government is trying to balance here and I certainly don’t envy them, because you’re they’re going to have competing demands on both sides of the equation.”

Meanwhile, in a recent webinar, DBA Lawyers senior Associate Shaun Backhaus commented that while the QAR report didn’t address any matters specific to the SMSF sector, it did consider changes to the advice that could be provided by (APRA)-regulated funds.

“The report suggested the trustees of APRA-regulated funds be allowed to provide personal advice to members and charge them for it,” he said.

“However, the proposal is that the trustees of large super funds would be able to provide personal advice to members taking into account their wider circumstances, including the spouse’s circumstances and presumably what spouses are owning, and so on.

“As such, is it going to be possible to put a balance into one of these large funds and then get advice that takes into account your SMSF benefits as well?

“The SMSF is part of your wider personal advice needs and the fund would not be able to give proper personal advice without taking into account someone’s SMSF as well.”


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