SMSF Association pushes for specialist adviser training

The Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) Association has recommended the Quality of Advice Review explore the introduction of mandatory specialised training for SMSF advisers.

In its submission to the Review, the Association brought forward the recommendation arguing it was in line with the Productivity Commission’s 2018 Superannuation report, FASEA’s Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics 2019 Guide and ASIC’s Report 575.

SMSF Association chief executive, John Maroney, said: “All these reports highlighted that education improves the quality of advice and consumer outcomes. As such, an approved course or accreditation must be completed, and appropriate ongoing professional development maintained to retain that certification or accreditation.

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“We believe requiring advisers to have specialist advice competencies in certain areas is important to lift the professionalism and integrity of the advice industry.”

He said the association’s research showed that 63% of SMSFs were established on the suggestion of an adviser while 81% of SMSFs used some form of adviser, highlighting that the quality of advice can materially affect the retirement savings of most SMSF members.

“If members and trustees do not understand their obligations and the time required to manage an SMSF, this can not only result in severe penalties and sanctions, but a lack of effective engagement and management causing significant financial detriment,” Maroney said.

The submission recommended that financial advisers had access to essential client ATO superannuation reports.

“Since the introduction of the concepts of Total Superannuation Balances and Transfer Balance Caps on 1 July 2017, advisers and administrators have needed access to crucial ATO client superannuation reports.

“The introduction of multiple Total Superannuation Balance thresholds and the pension Transfer Balance Caps have added further complexity to the provision of superannuation advice. This is in addition to the management of individual contribution caps and of different bring forward and unused contribution cap concessions.

Other key points in the Association’s submission were:

• A review of limited licensing for accountants to free up regulatory burden on accountants. 

• A comprehensive review of the sophisticated and wholesale investor regime.

• Removing ambiguity regarding the application of the design and distribution obligations and target market determinations to SMSFs.

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