More than you budgeted for

Super was the focus for advisers’ attention when it came to the 2013 Budget, but there was plenty more 

 

With 2013 set to see not just the introduction of FOFA but also a federal election – plus the likely awakening of a slumbering economy – for the financial services industry this Budget was always going to be one to watch.

The Budget’s most significant component – at least, from a financial services perspective – was the government’s confirmation of wide-ranging changes to superannuation, although these had already been announced on April 5.

The government had intended to shut down endless speculation over what would happen to superannuation by announcing its plans well before Budget day. But no one could blame the industry for being nervous about there being a nasty surprise or two come May 14.

Those fears were largely alleviated, with the toning down of a harsh excess contributions tax penalty regime, the first stage of a phased increase in the contributions cap and a $100,000 cap on pension earnings making it into the Budget along with other proposed changes.

Advisers will, of course, need to be aware of how the changes are likely to affect their clients. For example, a pilot program aimed at helping pensioners downsize their homes will be relevant to plenty of retiree clients.

An increase in the Medicare Levy from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent will also need to be accounted for, while amendments to family benefit payments and social security will have an impact on some clients.

On a more personal front, one change that may impact many advisers, especially ones who have significant continuing professional development requirements – such as self-managed super fund (SMSF) professionals – is a new cap on deductions for self-education expenses.

These will be capped at $2,000 per year from 1 July 2014.

On the client front, however, there will certainly be plenty of changes that SMSF advisers will need to keep up to speed with over the next couple of years as the sector continues to develop rapidly.

The SMSF sector is also one we believe is still under-serviced in terms of media coverage when compared with other areas of the financial services industry.

As the SMSF industry grows, Sterling Publishing, publisher of ifa, is proud to announce the launch of a new resource for SMSF specialists entitled SMSF Adviser.

SMSF Adviser (smsfadviseronline.com.au) will launch online in June, with a dedicated monthly print magazine to be launched in July – a first for the SMSF sector.

The new product suite is a natural evolution of SMSF magazine, which found a home in ifa magazine in the middle of last year, having been published as an independent quarterly magazine since 2009.

This new resource will help empower the sector. With a firm focus on adviser education, best practice, legislation and compliance – plus SMSF strategies – the website and magazine will help practitioners share their insights. Plus, it will build a greater sense of community among SMSF specialists, including advisers, lawyers, accountants, auditors and other related professionals.

You can register to receive regular updates on the SMSF sector, strategies for advisers and insights from the industry’s leading practitioners at www.smsfadviseronline.com.au/subscribe/e-newsletter. You can also subscribe to the magazine online.

I’d welcome your feedback on SMSF Adviser plus any of the articles in this issue of ifa. We’re focused on the continued evolution of the magazine and your feedback is always of value to us.

Sincerely,

Phillip Tarrant

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