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BGL promotes Daniel Tramontana to CEO

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Written by Miranda Brownlee
Published by SMSF Adviser on 21 December 2022
Click here to read on the SMSF Adviser website

BGL promotes Daniel Tramontana to CEO

Software firm BGL Corporate Solutions has promoted its chief operating officer to the role of chief executive, effective 1 January 2023.

BGL has announced that Daniel Tramontana will be promoted to chief executive officer from next year, with Ron Lesh to continue in his role as managing director.

Mr Lesh said he was incredibly proud and excited to see Mr Tramontana step into the chief executive role.

“This is a momentous moment for BGL, the team, our clients and our community,” said Mr Lesh.

“Daniel’s contribution over his almost 26-year tenure at BGL has been incredible. Starting in software support to helping BGL grow from 10 to over 200 people, Daniel has had his hand in every pie. BGL would not be where it is today without him.”

Mr Tramontana first joined BGL in 1997 as a member of its support team.

With a Bachelor of Computer Science & Accounting, BGL said that Mr Tramontana has added a new area of competency to BGL’s support and training teams.

Through his time at BGL, he obtained a Master’s in Business Administration and a Six Sigma Black Belt while performing in roles including general manager and, most recently, chief operating officer, the software company said.

After almost 26 years at BGL, Mr Tramontana said it was an honour to have been promoted as chief executive.

“Software is at the core of what we do. It’s the reason thousands of firms choose to transact with us,” he said.

“Our market-leading solutions will continue to evolve from strength to strength as we grow our presence in Australia and overseas. But clients stay at BGL because of our people, community and culture.

“My desire is for clients, prospects and the community to engage with us because of who we are, what we stand for, and the memorable moments we deliver. Our people are our greatest point of differentiation, and I am truly blessed with the best.”

BGL obtains mental health skilled workplace accreditation

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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
Written by Miranda Brownlee on 28 June 2022
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BGL obtains mental health skilled workplace accreditation

SMSF software firm has been recognised as an accredited Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace.

BGL is 1 of 165 organisations across Australia recognised as part of the Mental Health First Aid Australia Skilled Workplace Program, which was first introduced in 2018.

The program aims to inspire positive change and celebrates organisations driving mental health literacy and competency skills.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said the software firm has always had a big focus on mental heath and has implemented many initiatives to support its team members.

“One of which was to have all BGL leaders trained in mental health first aid,” said Mr Lesh.

“With the help of Joel Clapham, founder and chief mental health champ at Hearten Up, BGL had all our leaders trained as mental health first aiders. This equates to 1 trained mental health first aider for every 7 BGL team members.”

“This initiative alone has had an enormous positive impact on our leaders and our team members.”

Mr Lesh said supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its team members has never been more important.

“To have mental health and wellbeing deeply embedded in our culture is something I am so very proud of,” he said.

“Creating and sustaining a mentally healthy workplace requires constant and consistent effort. We will continue to invest in new and better ways to educate our team, raise awareness, and reduce the stigma related to mental health.”

BGL appoints new head of Simple Fund 360

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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
Written by Miranda Brownlee on 23 May 2022
Click here to read on SMSF Adviser website

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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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
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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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
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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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
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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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
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.”