Specialist advisers critical in preventing scams

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) specialist advisers may play a critical role in assisting investors how to avoid cybercrime and investment scams, according to the SMSF Association.

In 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that investment scams totalled $328 million, or 38% of the total $851 million lost to scams in Australia in that year, and, according to SMSF Association’s chief executive John Maroney, this was of particular concern in SMSF sector as SMSF trustees and self-directed investors could be financially crippled by these scams.

“The Association, in partnership with the regulators, has an important role to play in protecting our SMSF community,” he said.

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“Scams Awareness Week, which launches today, is an excellent time to remind SMSF members that there are extremely sophisticated scams circulating, and that their retirement savings are an obvious target.”

He added that self-directed investors needed to be particularly alert to any offer, especially if there was the promise of higher-than-normal returns on offer.

“I can attest from personal experience just how sophisticated these scams can be when I was approached by ‘ASAL Group’ who claimed to be specialists in assisting people manage their SMSFs.

“It was a very slick approach. But the fact they claimed to be a subsidiary of a major financial institution, yet I had not heard of them, and promised returns of between 18-24% just seemed too good to be true, and were two warning signs for me,” Maroney added.

“We will endeavour to continue educating SMSF professionals, trustees, and self-directed investors on how best to safeguard their retirement savings. There are many different types of scams in circulation and our role is to raise awareness, encourage conversation and promote vigilance to limit those in the SMSF sector from becoming the next scam victim.”

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