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BGL appoints new head of Simple Fund 360

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 23 May 2022
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BGL appoints new head of Simple Fund 360

SMSF software firm BGL has promoted its head of ecosystem as the new head of Simple Fund 360.

BGL Corporate Solutions has announced the appointment of Jeevan Tokhi as its new head of Simple Fund 360.

As a qualified CPA (SMSF specialist) and accredited SMSF Specialist Advisor (SSA) with a strong technical background and relentless focus on the clients, Jeevan has contributed significantly to BGL throughout his career with roles including support consultant, business and test analyst, Simple Fund Desktop product manager, Simple Fund 360 product manager and most recently, head of ecosystem.

Mr Tokhi said he has enjoyed building innovative software applications with a strong focus on the needs of BGL’s clients and will continue to do so.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said it has been a pleasure to watch Jeevan grow and thrive with BGL, both personally and professionally, since he joined BGL in 2005.

“We could not be prouder to see Jeevan rise up the ranks to head our Simple Fund 360 product team and make it his own,” said Mr Lesh.

“Jeevan is perfectly positioned and qualified to lead Simple Fund 360 into the future,” added Lesh. “With his vision for Simple Fund 360 and experience working with BGL’s flagship products, CAS 360 and Simple Invest 360, our clients are in for an incredible journey. Watch this space!”

SMSF firms warned on ‘weak points’ with cyber security

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 04 May 2022
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SMSF firms warned on ‘weak points’ with cyber security

An SMSF software provider has provided a range of practical tips on how SMSF firms can protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Speaking in a recent panel discussion, BGL managing director Ron Lesh explained that firms need to adopt a multifaceted approach when addressing cyber security, which will entail a wide range of different things.

One of the starting points, said Mr Lesh, is to ensure the business is running the most up-to-date versions of software and avoid using external Wi-Fi networks.

“There are weak points in the system, and public Wi-Fi networks are probably the weakest,” warned Mr Lesh.

“It’s also a matter of having apps that are well designed and secure and keeping an eye on which ones get hacked and making sure you get updated.”

Updating passwords regularly is also an important part of protecting against cyber attacks, he added.

“Use statements as passwords, not names, places and dates of birth. [You should also use] two-factor authentication,” he recommended.

Any firms that don’t already have cyber insurance should strongly consider getting it, he said.

“If you don’t have it, you should, and you should have cyber and professional indemnity insurance together because having them separate could be a problem if there is a claim,” he warned.

Mr Lesh said it is also vital that staff receive training on cyber security.

“If you’re not training your staff, get online and sign up for someone to come and train your staff because they’re your weakest link – them clicking on a link is the weakest list link of your organisation,” he warned.

SIS compliance the next big step for AI, says BGL

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 21 April 2022
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SIS compliance the next big step for AI, says BGL

Identifying where funds have broken major SIS rules will likely be the next big focus with artificial intelligence in the SMSF sector, said the managing director of BGL.

Speaking at a recent event, BGL managing director Ron Lesh said that while his firm has been doing a lot of work around the use of artificial intelligence over the last four or five years, there is a number of areas with SMSF administration and compliance where it can be further extended.

“All of our transaction posting is AI-based rather than rules-based and has been for a while, and there’s a review function that will tell you whether transactions have been posted to the right place using AI,” said Mr Lesh, speaking at a panel discussion at the SMSF Association National Conference.

Mr Lesh said there has also been a lot of development with the use of AI for reading documents.

“Not just reading things based on a template but reading any document of any type and a training system to train for any document of any type, we think that’s the future,” he explained.

“We think that may be the solution in the short term for tax distribution statements, but it already is for bank statements. We’ve already got hundreds of thousands of bank statements now being processed that way.”

One of the big areas that both software and audit firms are now looking at, said Mr Lesh, is using AI to help review the compliance of the fund.

“One of the things that I’m very keen to see added to what we’re already doing is a fund review that uses AI to determine whether we think the fund has broken any of the major SIS rules. I think that’s pretty important, and some of the audit firms are already trying to do that,” he stated.

While Mr Lesh said building AI models isn’t an easy process, the expansion of open banking would help development in this area.

“The ability to get a lot more data out of open banking is going to give us the ability to mine that data and really use AI to help clients understand what’s coming through better,” he said.

Mr Lesh also predicts the SMSF sector may even see one click administration five to seven years down the track as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly advanced.

Limited number of ESA providers creating difficulties for SMSFs

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 8 December 2021
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Limited number of ESA providers creating difficulties for SMSFs

The small number of SMSF messaging providers currently offering rollover services is creating challenges for SMSFs in some instances as funds attempt to comply with the new SuperStream standards.

Speaking in a recent podcast, BGL head of Simple Fund 360 product Matt Crofts explained that while the latest SuperStream measures for rollovers and release authorities will result in a more standardised and streamlined system, one of the challenges being encountered by some SMSFs is the fact that many institutions are no longer SuperStream providers.

Under the new standards, SMSFs are required to get an electronic service address (ESA) from an SMSF messaging provider or SMSF intermediary in order to receive SuperStream data.

Mr Crofts explained that SMSFs need to ensure that the ESA provider can support rollovers for SMSFs.

With the newest SuperStream standards requiring an 18-month software build for BGL, this latest version of SuperStream, he said, has seen many institutions drop out as SuperStream providers.

“When SuperStream first started, which is going back around five or six years ago, there were close to almost 40 SuperStream providers and slowly they’ve realised its a tough game to be in terms of compliance and keeping up to date [with everything] and there’s very little way to charge for that,” Mr Crofts explained.

“I think around half the providers that were in there dropped out … and this latest round of SuperStream requirements were huge so it may have halved again.

“[In some cases], people are not aware of them dropping out or they’re not receiving correspondence because some of that correspondence might be going to the trustee and not the accountant who are really the ones initiating a lot of the rollovers.”

Speaking in the same podcast, Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn said becoming a SuperStream provider was initially a more enticing business model because it was mainly dealing with inflows into an industry in the form of contributions.

“So, financial institutions were more than accommodating to be able to put these things in place because it meant they were getting cash flows into their cash accounts,” said Mr Dunn.

The landscape is now very different, however, said Mr Dunn, especially given the level of development required for the latest version of SuperStream.

“I’ve seen discussions on the notion of people going to look for an ESA and trying to find a free ESA so they can do things [but] those days are arguably over,” he said.

This leaves the major SMSF software companies such as BGL, Class and SuperMate as the only ESA messaging providers on the ATO register that can currently provide SuperStream rollover services for SMSFs, with Australia Post still working on finalising its offer.

DBA Lawyers director Daniel Butler said this poses an issue for SMSFs that are not on these software platforms, as they are unable to undertake a rollover that is compliant with SuperStream.

“The ATO’s position is that unless the SuperStream rollover process is followed, a significant administrative penalty (currently $4,400 per trustee) may be imposed, the fund may be rendered non-complying and auditors are encouraged to lodge an auditor contravention report to the ATO, which may give rise to costs and inconvenience,” explained Mr Butler.

“In short, there is currently no workaround to the SuperStream system and significant penalties and risks for those funds that seek to bypass the system.”

This is creating a “very difficult situation” for numerous SMSFs who have pressing needs to complete SMSF to SMSF rollovers, said Mr Butler.

“I am aware of several SMSFs, for instance, that need to settle on property and investment acquisitions who stand to lose considerable sums and costs for failing to settle on time. Some of these funds are now having to consider other alternatives like limited recourse borrowing arrangements to make sure they are not at risk,” he explained.

Mr Butler noted that the ATO may however look to take a practical approach and not enforce compliance until there are more ESA providers.

3-day time frame for SuperStream still proving challenging

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 3 December 2021
Click here to read on SMSF Adviser website

3-day time frame for SuperStream still proving challenging

The three-day turnaround required for SMSF rollovers under the SuperStream requirements is still proving difficult, with around only 20 per cent of rollovers estimated to be currently meeting the time frame.

From 1 October this year, SuperStream became mandatory for all SMSFs to roll over super to and from their funds. The new standards require a trustee to roll over or transfer an amount no later than three business days after the trustee received the rollover or transfer request or if the trustee requires further information, the date the trustee receives that information.

BGL head of the Simple Fund 360 product Matt Crofts said complying with the three-business-day time frame has been a challenge for SMSF trustees and APRA-regulated funds as well, with a straw poll undertaken by BGL revealing that the majority of rollovers are currently not meeting the three-business-day turnaround.

“We just did a straw poll and we know that there are only around 20 per cent meeting that three-day turnaround at the moment. There’s been some good ones that have turned around in 48 hours which is fantastic but […] looking at the data, the vast majority, around 40 to 50 per cent, are coming through within a seven-day time frame,” said Mr Crofts in a recent SMSF Adviser Show podcast.

“I think as we get used to the system and used to the new process, I think that’ll improve.”

Mr Crofts also stressed that if the trustee doesn’t have all the information, then they only need to respond back within the three days.

“You might be missing information so as long as you’re communicating back and forth with the APRA fund, if its APRA or SMSF, if its SMSF to SMSF, then as long as you’re reaching out and making contact, that [meets] the strict definition of three days,” he explained.

He also highlighted the importance of having automated feeds with bank and wrap services in trying to meet the three-day time frame.

“You’re going to have a greater chance of being able to meet that requirement because you’ve got all the transactions there, so even if you don’t have all the information, it’s going to be a quicker turnaround [than] if you haven’t got any bank statements in front of you and you’ve got to scramble to get all that information,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of accountants and advisers communicating with each other through the process.

“If you’ve got a planner involved in the process, make them aware of what the software needs,” said Mr Crofts.

“[For example], one of the issues when you roll across to an APRA fund is that you’ve got to have the correct USI, the identifier for the APRA fund, so you may need to give them a checklist or give them access to the software.

“It’s also communicating to the trustee that if they’re going to get any queries from the APRA fund or from the accountant [that they need] to properly communicate that.”

SuperStream – Navigating SMSF rollovers

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Written by Robyn Tongol on 1 December 2021
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Navigating SMSF rollovers under SuperStream

With the SuperStream measures now in place, SMSF professionals play an important role in helping clients manage some of the practical issues with rollovers, such as timing.

Following the introduction of the SuperStream measures on 1 October 2021, release authorities and rollovers to and from SMSFs are now required to comply with new data and payment standards. With these changes bringing new challenges to the SMSF sector, hosts Aaron Dunn and Miranda Brownlee ask Matt Crofts, head of Simple Fund 360 at BGL, to share some key insights from a software perspective on what practitioners need to be aware of.

Listen now!

SMSFs hitting ‘roadblocks’ with rollovers under SuperStream

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Written by Miranda Brownlee on 1 December 2021
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SMSFs hitting ‘roadblocks’ with rollovers under SuperStream

While the SuperStream measures have been in place since 1 October, there are some common issues impeding the rollover of money in and out of SMSFs, said an SMSF software provider.

From 1 October this year, SuperStream measures began to apply for rollovers and release authorities for SMSFs, with SuperStream now playing a much greater role in the sector.

The payment standards require trustees to roll over or transfer an amount no later than three business days after the trustee receives the rollover or transfer request.

While BGL head of Simple Fund 360 product Matt Crofts said that in the long term, the new payment standards would result in a more streamlined and standardised system between APRA-regulated funds and SMSFs, there are still some practical issues that are causing SMSF professionals and clients to be become unstuck.

One of the real sticking points, Mr Croft said, is with newly established funds. It’s important that SMSF trustees are notifying the ATO when establishing the fund, he explained in a recent SMSF Adviser Show podcast.

“It’s not just registering the ABN; it’s also going onto the ATO portal or getting the trustee to update the bank details when they’ve actually obtained them,” said Mr Crofts.

“The reason you need to update the ATO is because when you do a rollover, the APRA-fund or SMSF transferring the money will need to check the records to make sure the fund is complying, that it’s got bank account details and the member’s TFNs are correct.”

The other big challenge, he explained, is that the bank account needs to be in the super fund’s name.

“We’re not just seeing instances where the bank account details are missing. Sometimes the refund from an SMSF annual return is not in the super fund’s name, and it is in the individual’s name or the trust account of the firm,” he said.

There is also a range of roadblocks that SMSFs are hitting when trying to roll money out of the SMSF, he said.

One issue, he said, is where people have slightly different names with the ATO in an APRA fund scenario compared to when they are lodging their individual return.

“So we’ve seen a little bit of mismatch in that space, so it’s important that the SMSF trustee or their planner or accountant communicates with the APRA fund,” he said.

“It creates a few challenges when they’re not exactly sure what’s wrong when they’re trying to roll the money out; it could be the bank account details, it could be the member’s details, it could even be a non-complying fund that for some reason hasn’t lodged a return for a while,” he stated.

Speaking in the same podcast, Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn said a lot of the issues all revolve around verification.

“So, if there is married name change, then making sure that it’s been updated in MyGov so that that stuff marries off, that it matches what the ATO has on its records [is important],” he explained.

“Even little things like if the rollover is going out and you set a particular amount that that rollover is supposed to be, then make sure that your banking transfer will allow for an increased limit for that money to go out because those things have to match off for the transfer to actually be accepted on the other side as well.”

Heffron adds new features to Super Toolkit

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Written by Tony Zhang on 15 November 2021
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Heffron adds new features to Super Toolkit

Heffron SMSF Solutions has added new features to its Super Toolkit, including a new BGL integration and multiple subscription levels.

Drawing on extensive technical knowledge and understanding of SMSFs, Heffron is creating new tools for SMSF professionals, which contain unique features to guide users through the process of creating fully compliant SMSF documentation.

As part of the latest release, Heffron has added a Professional subscription level to the Toolkit offer. Subscribers can now manage access for multiple users from within a firm to collaborate in a single account. They will still be able to share documents with interested parties outside their organisation, like trustees or financial advisers.

Another feature of the Professional subscription is integration with innovative and award-winning SMSF software provider BGL. This technology will allow client details to be populated in the documentation as it is created, creating business efficiencies.

“We are excited about the next evolution of our Super Toolkit. Our intention is to provide tools that enable intermediaries and trustees to play the role they want to play with SMSFs,” Ms Heffron said.

“For some, this might simply be providing a compliance document. For others, it will be guiding them through the key decision points for a range of different SMSF events or activities (we’re calling this ‘guided decision-making’).

“The BGL integration is something we are extremely proud of. This will save our clients time by allowing fund and member data to be automatically pre-populated from BGL’s Simple Fund 360.

“We will continue to develop useful tools to help our clients with many aspects of their SMSF work.”

For more information, go to https://www.heffron.com.au/services/super-toolkit.

BGL launches integration with Colonial First State’s FirstWrap platform

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Written by Tony Zhang on 10 November 2021
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BGL launches integration with Colonial First State’s FirstWrap platform

BGL has successfully completed its Simple Fund 360 integration with Colonial First State’s FirstWrap platform.

BGL Corporate Solutions’ Simple Fund 360 is now integrated with Colonial First State’s FirstWrap platform.

“It’s great to have Colonial First State as part of the BGL ecosystem,” BGL’s managing director Ron Lesh said.

“FirstWrap is a full-service wrap platform, providing comprehensive investment choice, convenience and great flexibility.”

Mr Lesh noted this new integration means FirstWrap now has seamless integration with Simple Fund 360, with bank, investment and income transactions automatically loaded.

“Simple Fund 360 will then automatically map the required accounts and tax data to drive further efficiencies for your firm,” he added.

Colonial First State’s chief distribution officer, Bryce Quirk, said FirstWrap is excited to partner with BGL and provide the benefits of Simple Fund 360 to members and advisers.

“Adding to the comprehensive tax reporting features of FirstWrap, the welcome addition of Simple Fund 360 integration will further enhance the value and efficiencies for our joint customers,” Mr Quirk said.

BGL currently has over 350 partners in the firm’s ecosystem, and it is great to be able to add FirstWrap to the list.

FirstWrap is a full-service wrap, including FirstWrap Plus Super, Pension and Investments, which offers advisers and clients comprehensive investment choice, convenient administration, and the flexibility to design a portfolio to suit their investment needs.