fbpx Skip to main content

SMSF Adviser

BGL integrates with Acumentis to simplify SMSF property valuations

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Keeli Cambourne
Published by SMSF Adviser on 09 October 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

A new corporate partnership will help SMSFs with assets in property meet compliance standards as well as deliver cost-effective valuation and assessment reports.

BGL Corporate Solutions (BGL), a provider of company compliance, investment management and AI powered paper-to-data solutions, has integrated with national property valuation company, Acumentis, to simplify SMSF property valuations.

BGL’s managing director, Ron Lesh, said the integration will provide BGL’s Simple Fund 360 and Simple Invest 360 clients with access to compliant SMSF property valuations and tax depreciation schedules for a wide range of property types, including residential, commercial and agribusiness.

“Acumentis’ registered valuers are equipped to deliver cost-effective valuation and assessment reports with their extensive expertise, local and asset-specific knowledge and invaluable market insights,” he said.

Acumentis SMSF assessments are completed using methodology and data to ensure ATO compliance, providing clients with the information and confidence required for SMSF reporting.

Nathan King, National Director Advisory at Acumentis, said, SMSF trustees and administrators struggle with gaining access to relevant market data to substantiate the market value of SMSF property assets which often leads to auditor queries or valuation reworks.

An Acumentis SMSF property assessment provides an audit-compliant market value in a cost-effective and timely manner.

He said the integration means that BGL clients can now order a fixed price commercial or residential property assessment online and receive an ATO-compliant property assessment within five working days.

Mr Lesh added, under the ATO’s Valuation Guidelines, there is a limited range of professionals who can provide valuations, and with the rapidly changing property market, obtaining an independent property valuation ensures trustees, SMSF professionals and auditors have a correct valuation of SMSF assets and that the valuation is based on objective and supportable data.

‘Cherry-picking’ QAR recommendations dilutes impact

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Malavika Santhebennur
Published by SMSF Adviser on 26 September 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

The head of a fintech firm says implementing only some of the Quality of Advice Review recommendations could potentially dilute its effectiveness.

Ahead of the SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day 2023, platinum partner accountantsGPS CEO George Haramis noted that the government has been “cherry-picking” Quality of Advice Review (QAR) recommendations.

The federal government accepted (in full or in principle) 14 out of the 22 QAR recommendations for the overhaul of financial advice recommendations.

In its written response to the QAR, the government laid out its priorities for reform, which include increasing the pool of qualified advisers, streamlining documentation requirements, and expanding access to retirement advice by enabling superannuation funds to provide more information to consumers.

Mr Haramis said he used the term “cherry-picking” to describe the government’s response because they have not implemented all the recommendations.

“The QAR recommendations were crafted in such a way that it is a package to ensure that we can deliver more affordable advice to individuals who need it the most,” he told SMSF Adviser.

“Splitting these up could potentially dilute the effectiveness of the recommendations as crafted by [head of review] Michelle Levy. I think there’s consensus that in doing that, it prolongs the implementation of all the recommendations if they are accepted by the government.”

Mr Haramis is in the process of moving ahead with establishing the Australian Digital Advice Association (ADAA), along with fund manager abrdn and fintech firms Ignition Advice, moneyGPS, and Advice Intelligence.

He said if the QAR recommendations are implemented as a package, it could accelerate the timeframe in which digital advice is viewed as a “mainstream player”.

Mr Haramis added that the purpose of the digital advice association is to ensure that everyone who delivers digital advice is using the right type of technology that qualifies as digital advice.

He said moneyGPS delivers a fully client-led journey by undertaking a strategic review of the client’s situation covering best interests duty and product recommendations while delivering a personalised, tailored statement of advice that is compliant with the product recommendations.

“I’ve seen several groups who claim they deliver digital advice when they don’t,” he said.

“That muddies the water and confuses the discussion. It lends itself to concern and hesitation in using digital advice providers because clients may be unsure about who’s delivering the genuine product.”

Haramis echoes stance on accountants

The final QAR report also said there is “little merit” in holding a limited AFSL but opted against recommending changes to the advice accountants can give.

While Ms Levy acknowledged the accountant’s role in assisting clients with their financial needs, she said that did not mean that they should be given an exemption from the framework that regulates the provision of financial advice.

“They have expertise in tax matters. Tax is a critically important aspect of superannuation, but the matters that are relevant to a decision to establish and maintain a SMSF and to rollover superannuation into a SMSF are much broader than those relating to tax,” Ms Levy said.

“Advice on superannuation products, including interests in SMSFs, is financial product advice. It should be regulated as financial product advice. I do not see any reason for making an exception.”

Mr Haramis echoed these sentiments, stating that while accountants are proficient in delivering tax advice to clients in relation to their SMSF or superannuation, strategy recommendations differ significantly from tax advice.

“I would hesitate to give a full exemption to accountants because of that very reason,” he said.

Extending tech to SMSFs

Mr Haramis also spoke about the accountantsGPS’s platinum partnership with this year’s SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day, where he will be presenting on the fintech firm’s advice technology capabilities for accountants who service clients with SMSFs.

Earlier this year, SMSF software provider BGL Corporate Solutions (BGL) added accountantsGPS to its suite to offer its clients an SMSF check-up report. This can provide an analysis of a fund’s compliance and financial situation to evaluate how the fund is progressing in key areas.

“What we’re trying to do is offer accountants the technology to enable them to have deeper and constructive discussions with their clients on how to better position their SMSFs to ensure they achieve their long-term financial objectives,” Mr Haramis explained.

He added that events like the upcoming technical strategy day are vital to provide the SMSF industry with the latest updates (given they are responsible for a quarter of all super fund assets) while accountants are key to providing tax advice and advice on how clients could maximise contribution strategies.

“SMSFs can’t be ignored as much as some areas of the financial services industry would like to,” he concluded.

To hear more from George Haramis on how technology could enhance an accountant’s ability to deliver tailored guidance to SMSF clients, come along to the SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day 2023.

It will be held at the following locations:

Tuesday 17 October at Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney

Wednesday 18 October at Rydges Southbank, Brisbane

Wednesday 25 October at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne

Click here to book your tickets so don’t miss out!

For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.

Keep your clients engaged by using the right technology

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Keeli Cambourne
Published by SMSF Adviser on 4 August 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

Keep your clients engaged by using the right technology

Keeping SMSF clients engaged with their fund or portfolio is one of the best ways to retain and grow business, says a leading software provider.

At the BGL REGTECH in Sydney this week, Ron Lesh, BGL’s managing director, said technology can help advisers in ensuring their clients get as much information as they want or need and helps create better engagement.

He said new technology that allows advisers to do tasks such as digital signing can make it easier for clients as well as their service providers.

“BGL has built technology to help build client relationships,” he said.

“Things like digital signing are such an important way of gaining clients plus you get things done much faster than sending around paper documents,” he said.

“You can also give clients access to a mobile app through which they can check on their super fund balances every morning.”

However, Mr Lesh said building relationships with clients also requires more than just one meeting a year.

“Are you investing in your team so your team can have the relationships [with clients]?” he asked.

“Are you doing more than just compliance? We have the tools that can keep clients engaged.

“The AI that we’re using for processing review and document processing gets data more quickly and clients want data more quickly, so it means they can look at things more often and kept up to date.”

One of the latest updates to the BGL technology suite is the BETA release of its AI-powered paper-to-data software solution, BGL SmartDocs 360.

Mr Lesh said developed BGL SmartDocs was initially developed as part of its existing compliance offerings, Simple Fund 360 and Simple Invest 360.

“BGL SmartDocs reads PDF or image files, extracts the information and converts it into useful digital data using artificial intelligence, saving our clients a huge amount of time and money while dramatically reducing errors and improving efficiency,” he said.

“As the SmartDocs technology evolved, we realised it could provide a solution for many businesses leading to the creation of BGL SmartDocs 360.”

Mr Lesh said BGL SmartDocs 360 is unique in that it uses artificial intelligence with advanced deep-learning algorithms to process documents.

“BGL SmartDocs 360 learns from documents submitted through its training engine, unlike other solutions that require the creation of templates for each document layout,” he said.

“Once BGL SmartDocs 360 has learnt the document type it will permanently process the document type even if the document itself changes in layout. The document can be either a PDF or an image.”

“The AI data identification capability of BGL SmartDocs 360 allows businesses dealing with high document volumes, such as accountants, SMSF and investment administrators, to easily upload or email documents for automated processing.”

BGL promotes Warren Renden to general manager

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Keeli Cambourne
Published by SMSF Adviser on 02 August 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

BGL promotes Warren Renden to general manager

BGL, Australia’s leading provider of company compliance, SMSF and investment management software, announced Warren Renden is now general manager of the CAS 360, Ecosystem and Brand, while Nadine Freitag has been promoted to head of people and culture.

The appointment comes two weeks after BGL introduced a seven-person executive team, which includes Mr Renden.

“It has been a pleasure to watch Warren grow and thrive with us both personally and professionally since he joined BGL in 2007,” said Ron Lesh, BGL’s managing director.

“His journey has been one of growth and exceptional dedication, and I could not be prouder to see him take on this new role.”

A highly experienced Product Manager, Mr Renden has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Finance and Financial Planning from Deakin University and qualifications in Applied Project Management from the Australian Institute of Management.

He has been a member of the ASIC Business Advisory Committee and the ATO Digital Service Providers Strategic Working Group and is currently a member of the DSPANZ Government Digital Services Committee.

During his 16 years at BGL, Mr Renden has had a number of roles, including Support Consultant, Product Trainer, CAS Desktop Product Manager and Head of CAS 360.

“As General Manager – CAS 360, Ecosystem and Brand, I will wear many hats, overseeing BGL’s CAS 360 product, Ecosystem platform, Partnerships, Marketing and Events teams as well as being part of the BGL Executive Team,” said Mr Renden.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to exciting times ahead.” Daniel Tramontana, Chief Executive Officer at BGL, said.

“Warren’s work has touched thousands of BGL users. He is passionate and determined in every sense and is regarded as one of the industry greats. I’m very excited about the opportunities that await Warren and BGL.”

Since joining BGL in 2021 as People and Culture Manager, Ms Freitag has been instrumental in implementing various initiatives to advance career development, mental health and well-being at BGL.

Her qualifications include a Diploma in Human Resources Management and qualifications in Strategic HR Planning from the Australian Institute of Management.

QAR needs to consider specialisation of SMSF advice

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

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.”

BGL integrates with accountantsGPS to streamline SMSF reporting

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Keeli Cambourne
Published by SMSF Adviser on 11 April 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

BGL integrates with accountantsGPS to streamline SMSF reporting

Checking on the health of an SMSF is now a lot simpler with the integration of the Simple Fund 360 with fintech platform accountantsGPS.

SMSF software provider BGL Corporate Solutions (BGL) has added Mebourne-based company accountantsGPS to its suite to offer its clients an SMSF check-up report, which can provide a comprehensive analysis of a fund’s compliance and financial situation to evaluate how the fund is progressing in key areas.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said the report includes SMSF documentation, investment performance, investment policy development, contribution strategies, investment property performance (including debt position), insurance and estate planning.

“The report will help Simple Fund 360 clients to determine whether the trustees and members of a fund will meet their compliance obligations as well as their longer-term investment and retirement goals,” he said.

George Haramis, chief executive and co-founder of the Fiduciary Group and accountantsGPS, said accountants can now undertake a comprehensive analysis of their clients’ SMSF across a number of key areas, adding additional value to trustees and members and eliminating the time, cost and angst of trying to create a report manually.

Jeevan Tokhi, head of Simple Fund 360 at BGL, said the integration allows BGL clients to log in to the accountantsGPS platform using their Simple Fund 360 credentials. Clients can then authorise Simple Fund 360 to pass information relating to all or a select number of their SMSFs to the accountantsGPS platform.

“BGL’s API will pre-fill 95 per cent of the information required to complete the SMSF check-up report, making this a simple, streamlined process that takes just a few minutes per fund. Importantly, it means clients can provide the report for their SMSFs without requiring an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence,” he said.

BGL unveils email to fund software feature

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

BGL unveils email to fund software feature

A new feature within BGL SmartDocs will further streamline the process of analysing, checking and storing documents for SMSFs.

BGL has released a new email to fund feature called Email to Fund, as part of it AI-powered document-to-data solution, BGL SmartDocs.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said clients will now be able to email documents directly into their Simple Fund 360 and Simple Invest 360 software where BGL SmartDocs will extract the data, automatically code and attach the source document to the transaction.

BGL SmartDocs is a document reader that uses AI technology with optical character recognition (OCR) and advanced deep learning algorithms to extract information from many document types including bank statements, contract notes, dividend and distribution advices, rental statements and invoices. It converts the document into digital data, streaming the workflow process.

BGL head of Simple Fund 360, Jeevan Tokhi explained that with the new BGL SmartDocs features, each SMSF, trust, company and individual portfolio in Simple Fund 360 and Simple Invest 360 will have a unique email address for accountants, advisers, administrators or trustees to send documents.

“The documents can also be uploaded via the software, Engage by BGL (our mobile app) or via the BGL API. Documents are then automatically added to Document Management in the software,” said Mr Tokhi.

When BGL SmartDocs extracts the document data, it will automatically search for the corresponding transaction within the entity (SMSF, trust, company or individual) and attach the source document to it, he explained.

“The most exciting feature, however, is that the data auto-fills transaction details in the Smart Matching screen for uncoded bank transactions, eliminating the need for clients to create data rules,” he stated.

Mr Lesh said the release was the next step in the evolution of BGL’s zero-touch technology.

“It will eliminate the administrative burden of analysing, checking and storing hundreds of documents annually for SMSFs and investment portfolios. It also bolsters the existing transaction matching and AI-powered Smart Matching in Simple Fund 360 and Simple Invest 360,” he said.

‘The house always wins’: Threshold imposes unfair tax outcomes on losses

By In the Media, Industry, SMSF AdviserNo Comments

Written by Miranda Brownlee
Published by SMSF Adviser on 08 March 2023
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

‘The house always wins’: Threshold imposes unfair tax outcomes on losses

The proposed calculation for the $3 million threshold could result in high unusual outcomes where assets have reversed in value, warns the IPA.

Last week, Treasury released a fact sheet explaining the details on how the earnings tax calculation would work for its proposed $3 million threshold.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, IPA general manager, Tony Greco explained that one of the major issues with the proposed methodology behind the tax calculation is it treats income and unrealised capital gains equally.

It also doesn’t apply the CGT discount to unrealised capital gains, he added.

The worst aspect of the proposed calculation, he stated, is that there is no refund if unrealised gains reverse.

The proposed calculation only allows negative earnings to be carried forward and offset against the extra tax in future years’ tax liabilities.

“So you’re paying tax [on the unrealised gain] first but then in future years if the asset value goes the other way, you don’t get to claw that back. You have to wait for the investment value to recover before you get to see the benefit of that pre-payment,” Mr Greco explained.

While there is no detail yet on how the measure will work upon the death of a member, Mr Greco said this could potentially mean that if the member dies before the asset value recovers, the tax paid is essentially lost.

“If a member dies so does the tax paid. This may be a common scenario if asset values rise and never recover before the member dies,” he warned.

Mr Greco noted in some cases asset values can take a long time to recover.

“You could buy a property and then they build a freeway next to it. It might take 10 years before that property value recovers,” he said.

“The prepayment of tax based on an unrealised gain is almost like a casino where the house never loses.

“The government is grabbing its money first but doesn’t have to pay it back if it goes the other way. What better outcome from a government perspective could you wish for.”

BGL managing director Ron Lesh has also criticised the government’s measure this week, labelling it “super theft”.

In a release issued on Tuesday, Mr Lesh said the new tax appears to have been Labor’s intention before the election.

“It is unfair to hard-working Australians who have legally saved for their retirement and have accumulated balances through making contributions and smart investing. And just another example of the Albanese government’s total disregard for the financial well-being of Australians,” said Mr Lesh.

The number of Australians affected by the measure is likely to rise over time, he noted, with the Financial Services Council estimating it could climb to 500,000 over time.

“Limiting politicians, public servants and judge’s [sic] defined benefit pensions to what can be earned with the current $1.7 million balance transfer cap would be a much better way for the government to raise revenue”, added Lesh.

“Since the Albanese Government came into power, we’ve already seen huge increases in interest rates, electricity, gas, food and services. With this new tax, I’m deeply concerned Labor will soon come after Australians with changes to negative gearing, franking credits, capital gains tax, wealth or inheritance taxes, or even taxing the value of the family home,” says Lesh.