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Self-directed SMSFs present advice challenge

Self managed super fund trustees present both a challenge and opportunity to advisers who are able to show they can add value to the sector, with protection of both trustees and advisers a key concern, panellists at a Wealthtrac roundtable have said. 

Introducing the pane at yesterday's event in Sydneyl, Wealthtrac managing director and chief executive Matthew Johnson identified SMSFs as “probably the most complex [area of superannuation] and the area where people seek the least advice but need the most help.”

Association of Financial Advisers chief executive Brad Fox said recent super changes announced by the Government had added a new layer of complexity.

“Complexity in the market hasn’t improved, it’s got worse,” he said.

“Whenever you create limits or sub-limits on things, you’ve created a model where the consumer can’t readily advise themselves. It sounds easy when you take the legislation at a high level but it’s not that easy when it comes into practice.”

He questioned, when people elected to move into SMSFs, if the onus was on them to ensure they were adequately protected. “The challenge becomes, if you are going to self-advise as a trustee, what is your mechanism to stay up to date with the intricacies of the law?” he asked.

Wealthtrac director Bruce Tustin said he has seen “hideous” examples of inadvertent breaches from trustees and said often the damage can’t be repaired, adding that technology needed to provide compliance solutions to protect both advisers and trustees.


“Trustees need protection. Advisers can’t keep up with what trustees are doing either,” he said. “That [technology solution] protects the trustee but it also protects the planners, it highlights breaches and gives time to reverse the transaction.”