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Ron Lesh

ASIC finally admits SMSF fact sheet was – WRONG!

By Homepage, In the Media, Industry, UncategorisedNo Comments

I have said many times that ASIC’s “Are SMSFs for you?” fact sheet was wrong. The use of ATO data to produce a document that was clearly misleading my view was ridiculous.

Well finally the ASIC Chair has now admitted to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics that it failed when this so called fact (I would call it factless) sheet was published.

BGL has been saying based on data for over 200,000 SMSFs the cost of running an SMSF is somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. It can be higher and it can be lower – it depends – but it is certainly it is NOT the $13,900 published in ASIC’s factless sheet.

I could say “I told you so” but I won’t!

Check out the article below for more info.

https://www.smsfadviser.com/news/19866-asic-admits-failures-in-smsf-operating-costs-fact-sheet

PS: Love Tim Wilson’s comments….

2020 was a mad year – but I am so proud of what the BGL Team achieved…

By BGL UpdateNo Comments

2020 was a mad year.

I think we are all happy it is behind us.

But, during 2020, I was really proud of what the BGL Team achieved.

Let me first look at the CAS 360 Team.

There were 17 software releases with over 400 new features released.

Just think about that – 1 software release every 3 weeks and over 1 new feature every day of the year!

Second, let’s look at Simple Fund 360.

There were 42 major software releases with 100’s of new features released. These include:

  • Simple Fund 360 – 15 releases
  • Simple Fund  360 Workpapers – 2 release
  • Simple Invest 360 – 7 releases
  • Simple Fund Mobile – 4 releases
  • GuestTrack by BGL – 12 releases

And these are just the major releases!

Apart from the work of these 2 teams, the Training and Documentation Team were tasked with updating the documentation and training materials for both products. These guys did an amazing job keeping up with the speed of development of the CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 product teams.

And last, but not least, let’s include the fantastic work of the BGL IT Team. The BGL IT Team released myBGL and a huge amount of internal development during the year. This team also made numerous software releases of both myBGL and to other internal systems.

Not a bad effort from 3 of the sensational teams at BGL.

Working from home the Teams proved they are consummate professionals.

I am so proud of what was achieved in a very difficult year. I am so proud of each and every one of you!

 

The future of BGL’s Simple Fund Desktop

By BGL Update, Homepage, NewsNo Comments

Below is an email I sent to Simple Fund Desktop clients today.

If this affects you, please speak to your BGL account manager

************************************************************************

I am writing to advise you of the future of your BGL Simple Fund Desktop software.

As you would be aware, there will be a number of significant changes to superannuation law in the 2021 calendar year. These changes include indexation of the pension cap of $1.6m, Superstream Rollovers and the ability to have 6 members in an SMSF.

BGL has made the decision to not make these changes to Simple Fund Desktop and therefore 30 June 2021 will be the last tax release of Simple Fund Desktop.

BGL launched Simple Fund Desktop in 1997. This software has had an incredible life but eventually all good things must come to an end.

BGL will continue to support Simple Fund Desktop clients. No date for the cessation of support has been set and we know it will take a while for all clients to move to Simple Fund 360.

What’s next?

Simple Fund 360 is the natural move for Simple Fund Desktop clients. Migration is seamless and ALL data and reports are migrated from Simple Fund Desktop to Simple Fund 360, meaning you do not lose ANY of your valuable data.

To prepare for your transition to Simple Fund 360, it’s best to start early by:

  1. Reaching out to your Account Manager
  2. Preparing your funds for migration
  3. Signing up to Simple Fund 360
  4. Setting up your data feeds

My Account Management and Client Success Team are here to help make your move absolutely seamless. I have asked them to reach out to you in the coming weeks to help you get started but if you would like to contact us, please call on 1300 654 401.

Finally, let me thank you for being a Simple Fund Desktop client. For many of you, I know Simple Fund Desktop has been a part of your lives for a very long time. I hope Simple Fund 360 will help you continue this remarkable experience

Early release of super makes a difference

By BGL Update, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

This has been a tumultuous year for BGL, our clients and the superannuation industry.

During the year, the government introduced another super early release scheme – this time in response to COVID-19.

I have asked our friends at mProjections to do a couple of calculations to demonstrate the impact of a withdrawal and how to engineer a higher retirement. Please check these out.

Example 1

Phillippa, 29, worked in the hospitality industry with 2 jobs, total income (pre Covid) of around $55,000pa, pre-tax. She is single and had built up a Super balance of $25,000.

Shortly after loosing one of those jobs, she withdrew $8,000 without thinking about the consequences to super. Her Super had been invested in a typical ‘Balanced’ Investment Option with 65% in growth assets.

Using the mProjections Report, Philippa moved her post-withdrawal balance to a High Growth Investment Option (85% in growth assets). She saw that, before withdrawal, she would have $55,194 pa annual retirement income for 25 years, but with a move to High-Growth – without additional contributions – she would enjoy a $57,415 projection. Most importantly, her upside for a considerable improvement in retirement spending would increase.

 

Example 2

Jonathan works as an electrician in the western suburbs of Sydney and had his hours reduced to 20 hours per week for 3 months. He decided to withdraw $8,500. Using figures in our Report, he saw how to increase his $79,747 tax-free pre-withdrawal retirement projection by moving the balance of his fund to a High Growth Investment Option and a consequent retirement income projection of $82,442.

He also noted the greater likelihood of upside. ‘Low’ here is 15% of assets in growth.

 

If you would like to prepare an mProjections report for your clients, check out their website.

 

From the desk of the BGL Managing Director | 2020 in Review

By BGL Update, HomepageNo Comments

We are nearly at the end of 2020, and what a year it has been. It is certainly not a year I want to remember and the sooner we get (in my opinion) to 2021 the better.

BGL has a lot to be thankful for this year. Your support of my team and I has been fantastic and we all really appreciate it.

Working from home, Zoom meetings, doom and gloom from our media, has made our lives difficult. The winding back of restrictions, especially in Victoria, is well overdue.

We decided to close the BGL office for 3 weeks from 21 December 2020 to 8 January 2021 (inclusive). My team needs this time to refresh and recover from what has been a tough year. Very few have had any time off during the year.

I am looking forward to 2021 and the gradual opening up of Australian business. I feel very sad for so many small businesses that are not able to reopen. As a small business owner, my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

For BGL, 2021 will be very exciting. With the release of our 3rd cloud product Simple Invest 360 and some amazing developments coming from our product teams, 2021 will provide a heap of opportunities for clients and our Team.

I would like to sincerely thank the BGL Team that has grown to over 170 through 2020. The work you do and the service you provide our clients is invaluable.

Last, I would like to thank each and every one of YOU for being BGL clients in 2020. I hope we have lived up to your expectations.

Please have a safe and happy festive season and a prosperous 2021!

Was our reaction to COVID-19 over the top?

By Homepage, In the Media, UncategorisedNo Comments

Was our reaction to COVID-19 over the top?

There has been a lot written about Australia’s response to the COVID-19 virus. You have many cheering on the lockdowns and restrictions most of whom were largely unaffected. Politicians, public servants and most of the media were very lucky to escape the economic consequences of COVID-19.

But as most of our clients know, their clients were not. Many thousands of businesses will never return.

Many people, especially the young, will find it difficult to find a job for a long time.

Some businesses were lucky – they were able to not only survive but thrive during COVID-19. I am lucky BGL was one of those businesses.

But the question I keep asking is did we overreact ? And don’t think I am being heartless. I said all along we need to protect the vulnerable – a job which was done extremely poorly by the Victorian state government. But we also needed to better handle testing and maybe we should have put ANYONE who had the virus in proper quarantine. rather than letting them stay at home and go out for exercise!

We still have no idea of the long term mental health consequences of the lockdowns. I see it in my people. I see many suffering from a lack of social contact. Those that have regularly come into the office through the lockdown appear to be in a better mental state than those who did not. I worry about the long term effects and wonder what it would have been like if the virus was handled this differently.

I look at countries like Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam who did a great job of managing COVID-19. They did not do it with lockdowns. They did not lecture or scare their communities – they brought their communities along for the ride. Unfortunately our governments did not take this approach.

So what would have happened if our governments had not imposed draconian lockdowns on our communities ? The answer is we don’t know. The Andrews government imposed masks in Victoria, for example, but gave no time to see if this alone reduced the spread of the virus. In other words, in the name of keeping us safe, our governments and their group of poorly qualified Chief Health Officers decided on what was easiest for them.

I don’t know the answer – but either do they.

What I do know is unemployment is only being kept low by Jobkeeper and that our governments have generated a huge amount of intergenerational debt that our children will have to repay. I wonder if they really understand this. Few of our politicians were around when interest rates were 20%

We certainly are not all in this together.

Those who imposed the rules are all fine. Most did not lose 1 cent of income – in fact many even got a salary increase during COVID-19 while their lockdowns put so many people out of work. Those on whom the rules were imposed are not fine.

I always question when a government says we are doing this to keep you safe. Because keeping us safe always seems to lead to a loss of our rights and freedoms.

I have had huge concerns about the mental health of my team during the lockdowns in Victoria. The Victorian government seem to have ignored mental health. They are so focussed on eliminating COVID-19 they forgot all else. More is being written about the mental health affects of the lockdown now. I recently came across this article Victoria fights back COVID-19, but at what cost?

I would probably prefer to be less safe because the cure seems to have been far worse than the disease.

And finally, please checkout the attached article by Chris Kenny of the The Australian. He says this a lot better than me:

Time to unmask the coronavirus alarmists and sideline the fearmongers – by Chris Kenny |
Download here!

 

BGL is dismayed by Treasury’s proposed 45 day SMSF accounts rule!

By BGL Update, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

BGL is dismayed at Treasury’s proposed 45 day SMSF accounts rule.

“It’s just dumb” said BGL’s Managing Director, Ron Lesh. “Why do SMSFs need to prepare their financial statements 45 days before their lodgement date? It just makes no sense”

In a draft amendment to the The Treasury Laws Amendment (Miscellaneous and Technical Amendments) Regulations 2020 it is proposed to insert a new regulation 8.02AA into the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 to require accounts and statements for SMSFs to be prepared at least 45 days before the annual return is required to be lodged.

“I am trying to understand why this is necessary or where this has come from” asked Lesh. “It will not improve SMSF reporting, it will not improve SMSF audits, it will not improve SMSF annual return lodgements – so why has it been proposed?”

“In fact, in my view it could do the opposite. It could put SMSF trustees in a position where they need to backdate accounts – for no reason or benefit” noted Lesh.

“The SMSF industry has clearly said this change is unnecessary and that it would simply be an additional burden on SMSF trustees, administrators and auditors” says Lesh. “I thought post COVID-19 we were trying to cut unnecessary red tape rather than add more regulations to an already incredibly over-regulated industry.”

“I hope Treasury is listening” stated Lesh. “I do not know who came up with this dumb idea, but one would suspect it was someone who has no experience in the real world. A clear statement from Treasury or the Government this change will be dropped is needed now before it causes more angst in the SMSF industry that has already suffered through a year of extreme stress.”

BGL named Australia’s 9th most innovative technology company in AFR awards

By BGL Update, Homepage, TechnologyOne Comment

On Thursday afternoon, BGL was named Australia’s 9th most innovative technology company in the AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies awards.

This is a sensational achievement by the BGL Team, and I could not be prouder of each and every one of you.

BGL’s submission to the AFR awards was BGL Smartdocs. This was developed by the BGL Big Data Team led by James Luo.

So, what is BGL Smartdocs? Well, I described it in our submission to the AFR in the following paragraph:

BGL has built a solution to convert PDFs or images files into transaction data files. Then using our award winning (2019 AFR Most Innovative Technology Company) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, we automatically process this data in our SMSF administration software. The documents can be clean or contain notations. We use AWS Textract as our OCR provider and then apply Natural Language Processing, Probability and Statistics on lots of linguistic data to help us extract and categorise the data. We then automatically link the data and the document through a system of tags. Our deep learning model runs in the “Edge”, so clients can scan and optimise documents via their mobile phone. BGL SmartDocs will even verify the client has the right data in the right place if they upload a different source document. And BGL SmartDocs also automatically indexes the documents and images making the documents full text searchable.

The BGL Big Data Team have done some amazing work over the past few years. Apart from BGL Smartdocs, they have also developed BGL Smartpost III, our AI based transaction posting solution as well as the big data views in Simple Fund 360 and now Simple Invest 360.

I am especially proud because this is the second year in a row BGL has made the top 10 list. Last year we were recognised as Australia’s 5th most innovative technology company with BGL Smartpost III.

It is unusual and incredible that a 30+ year business can continue to be innovative. This is a reflection of the BGL Culture.

Innovation should be part of the DNA of every business. It is at BGL. But you do not achieve awards like this without a high level of team engagement. At BGL, this is close to 90%. When I hear statistics that only 17% of people are engaged at work, I can understand why the world is in the mess it is today. And why so many of companies have forgotten why they are in business. Hey, let me remind you – it is to serve your customers – not cover the arses of your directors!

When I look at the new board composition laws in California, I wonder what the world has come to. When did we stop selecting the best people for the job rather than the best politically correct candidate? When did quotas ever work? The Victorian government optimizes this stupidity and is one of the reasons my state is in the COVID-19 mess it is in today. Our state public service is employed on the basis of diversity and political views rather than competence.

I am glad to say we have a widely diverse teams of sensational people at BGL. We did not go out to employ a diverse team – we simply employed the best people who came through our doors no matter who they were or where they were from. As Martin Luther King Jnr said I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Boy have many of us forgotten this.

Congratulations again to the BGL Team. You are incredible!

 

BGL cleans up 2020 SMSF awards

By BGL Update, Homepage, Simple Fund 360One Comment

BGL was today announced the winner of the 2020 CoreData SMSF Software award.

This is a clean sweep. First BGL achieved highest overall satisfaction among accountants using SMSF software providers in the 2020 Investment Trends SMSF Accountant Report.

Second BGL was recognised by Momentum Media as the 2020 SMSF Software Provider of the year –  for the third year in a row!

And then today, BGL is announced as winner of the 2020 CoreData SMSF Software award.

This confirms it. BGL and Simple Fund 360 are the #1 SMSF software solution in Australia. No buts. The results are in and they are very clear.

BGL won these awards because of the work of our amazing team. The software is sensational – a great job by the Simple Fund 360 Team led by Matt Crofts and supported by our team managers James Luo, Jeevan Tokhi, Anthony Fernandez, Joanne Ng and Brad Wilkinson and of course all our business analysts, developers and testers. You guys have done and amazing job and you should be very proud of yourselves!

But great software is only part of the story. Its is the work of the account managers and sales team, the admin team, the API / integrations team, the client success team, the data services team, the devops team, the IT team, the marketing team, the people and culture team and the support team that helps make BGL #1.

We also can’t forget of course that Simple Fund 360 is only 1 part of the BGL story. Without CAS 360 kicking goals and the upcoming release of Simple Invest 360 and the work of these teams, BGL would not be where it is today.

It is the fully integrated product suite and our extensive ecosystem that makes BGL THE supplier of choice for SMSF admin, corporate and trust compliance.

This post is huge shout out to the team. Great teams with awards. Even greater teams win multiple award. But only the best teams clean up winning ALL the awards in one year. So guys – give yourselves a huge round of applause – you deserve it.

My challenge to the teams: back to back and then let’s head for the 3peat. Let’s do it again in 2021!

BGL passes 750,000 entities in the cloud…

By BGL Update, CAS 360, Homepage, Simple Fund 360No Comments

Many people think business is all about numbers. But it’s not.

Business is really about people. Business is about building a great team and supporting that team through thick or thin.

BGL has great people who have built absolutely extraordinary computer software products. CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 are sensational software solutions and are clearly #1 in their classes. Let me repeat that: Clearly #1.

They are #1 when it comes to numbers but they are not #1 because of the numbers.

They are #1 because they solve many problems for our clients in innovative ways and with software that is of exceptional quality. They are #1 because we listen to our clients and we put into our software what our clients want.

And because we look for new ways to help our clients be more efficient. Accounting workpapers, BGL SmartDocs and digital signing in Simple Fund 360 are examples of unique features only available in our software solutions. Automation, reliability and ASIC compliance are exceptional features in CAS 360.

Passing 750,000 entities in the cloud is a fantastic achievement. My team should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved over the past 6 years. BGL set its BHAG of connecting 1,000,000 people to our products by 2020 in 2014. This was a big hairy audacious goal when at the time we had maybe 10,000 connections. We would never have thought in our wildest dreams that we would reach this target – and reach it 1 year early – but we did. We did because of the contribution of every current and past member of the BGL Team.

Our new BHAG is even more audacious. But I am confident that working together with the right people in the right seats on the bus, the right culture and the right focus we will achieve this too.

The past 6 months have been pretty depressing in Victoria. And I hope by now our team realised they have done nothing wrong. They have not caused this mess. They have done the right thing all the way through this government caused disaster.

I am really proud of what we have achieved working together so far this year. We have won many awards for our software and the national Australian Achiever award for our customer service. Providing first class customer service has always been a priority at BGL so it is fantastic see a 99%+ CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score across our support services.

But none of this happens without leadership. I am really proud of how the BGL leadership has worked together through this time to ensure our team are happy, healthy, safe and productive.

We will get out of this mess soon. And we will come out stronger for the experience. I have always been an optimist. It is a shame my optimism does not extend to our politicians – what a sad and (not) sorry bunch they are. I am confident about BGL, our business and our country eventually getting out of this mess caused by a plethora of incompetent politicians and public servants. These people are simply out of their depth.

To my Team, a HUGE thank you. You are a great bunch of people and you thoroughly deserve all the success and rewards that have come and will come your way.

And guys, please do check out our 750,000 entities commemorative video on YouTube