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Accountants should be able to provide SMSF advice, says IPA CEO

Accountants should be able to provide advice to trustees of self-managed super funds, said the CEO of the Institute of Public Accountants.

Accountants should be able to provide SMSF advice, says IPA CEO
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • May 27, 2019
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The incoming Morrison government must focus on increasing access to financial advice for all Australians, said the CEO of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Andrew Conway.

Although many Australians do turn to their accountants for assistance with SMSF-related issues, under the rules that came into force mid-2016, accountants can no longer help with establishing and winding up an SMSF unless they are licensed.

The current financial services law is depriving Australians from getting the financial advice they need, Mr Conway said. 

“Accountants should be able to provide advice in relation to self-managed superannuation funds,” he noted, explaining that an SMSF is a business structure.

"It is nonsensical that if you have a client come to your practice today and ask for advice in relation to investing in plant machinery in their business, for millions of dollars, you can provide advice on that. But the minute the client mentions that they are going to use part of their super, the roller door has to come down.

“We need to review the way financial advice is provided in this country and ensure the playing field is level.

“Will it be successful? We hope so. We had a very good hearing from the outgoing assistant treasurer Stuart Robert. We hope the new Assistant Treasurer and the Assistant Minister for Superannuation and Financial Services will listen to this case.”

According to recent ATO data, SMSFs represent 28 per cent of all super assets, but the rate of establishment has declined by 25 per cent.

“We are not saying that an SMSF is an appropriate structure in every case. But the very fact that establishment rates have decreased so sharply ought to be a policy concern," added Mr Conway.

He cautioned that today Australians have less access to advice than ever before. 

"That ought to be a financial services policy priority for the incoming Morrison government," Mr Conway concluded. 

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