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Custom Wealth chief offers free SMSFs

The chief executive of non-aligned dealer group Custom Wealth is offering a free self-managed superannuation fund to “every Australian” through his superannuation software business, with proposed long-term benefits for the advice market.

Chris Appleyard, chief executive of Custom Wealth Solutions, has announced his superannuation software company, CleverSuper, has the ability “to offer every Australian a free SMSF to manage their retirement savings” and is looking for 100,000 investors to sign up.

Speaking to ifa, Mr Appleyard said technology exists to allow investors to bypass the administrative set-up costs allowing SMSF trustees to spend on quality financial advice instead.

“The truth of the matter is that I can already give SMSFs away for free – the technology exists and is infinitely scalable,” he said.

The free establishment is enabled by “a number of softwares talking together”, with Mr Appleyard describing the technology as “iTunes for financial services” – akin to a mobile application.

“We have the technology now, so why are we all being disingenuous and pretending to be necessary administrators of funds and then charging for that?,” he asked.

“It’s the ancillary behaviours where the money is made and where everyone should be focusing.”

Asked whether an SMSF is reasonably something that all Australians – regardless of net worth or financial literacy – can aspire to, Mr Appleyard said the idea of a minimum entry base for SMSFs is increasingly outmoded.

“The idea that you need a certain amount in investible assets or whatever is old thinking – we need to throw that idea out the window – you can have an SMSF with twenty bucks in it if you want,” he said.

“The question of ‘should someone have one’ is irrelevant – the point is everyone can have one. We need to change the perception, there’s no good reason why anyone can’t have an SMSF.”

Mr Appleyard said the extension of SMSFs to a broader market would help increase demand for professional advisers.

“If you get a million people or more with the ability to do anything they want they are going to have questions and you can agitate that by saying ‘well, if you want to do that, here’s an adviser that specialises in that behaviour’,” he said.

“The benefit is that if everyone has an SMSF you have an audience that controls the purse-strings, and a pool of capital you can draw on.

“The irony of it all is that you don’t want the [trustee] to know everything, because then they go for advice."