A showcase of SMSF leaders

The second year of accolades for the best-of-the-best service providers to SMSFs has once again revealed the frontrunners in the industry. Krystine Lumanta and Elizabeth Somerville report on the winners as nominated by SMSF-servicing advisers and accountants.

With predictions of SMSF asset holdings reaching $2.23 trillion within the next 20 years, a great opportunity is still presenting itself for service providers as well as the associated challenge of delivering first-rate capabilities to the largest segment of the Australian superannuation market.

The continually rising pool of assets in SMSFs has now exceeded $543 billion and the number of fund members broke through the 1 million mark in March.

It is with this backdrop that industry research specialist CoreData, in conjunction with selfmanagedsuper, hosted the second annual SMSF Service Provider Awards in 2014.

Finalists were nominated and winners acknowledged across 10 different categories for services provided to financial planners and accountants.

CoreData head of financial services Kristen Turnbull says the awards are based on first-hand feedback, providing a strong gauge and insight into those market participants offering the best services across a range of different disciplines.

“The awards play an important role as they help recognise companies that are really meeting the needs of accountants and advisers who are servicing the SMSF sector and it encourages others in the industry to strive to improve their service offer,” Turnbull tells selfmanagedsuper.

“We captured the responses of 598 advisers and accountants and 621 trustees, which was conducted between 28 July and 22 August.

“We asked them to tell us who they believed was the best provider in each specific category and combined that with a service effectiveness score, so the results show us who is really meeting the needs of advisers, accountants and their clients.”

She reveals the factors driving satisfaction and high ratings for service providers include pricing, flexibility, responsiveness and track record, particularly in investment management.

“Ultimately, if you’re not responding to client needs you’re not going to get a high rating in this type of study where we’re asking respondents to select who they believe is the best specialist in that asset class or area,” she says.

“I do think the quality level of the service providers in the market is improving in part because of the increased competition, but also because of the sheer number of players in the space.

“Competition technically drives down prices and should, in theory, lead to more choice and better outcomes for advisers, accountants and end customers.”
While she expects new names in the SMSF space to emerge year-on-year, future winners will depend upon whether current service providers are taking up the mantle and responding to the needs of intermediaries.

At the conclusion of the awards, selfmanagedsuper spoke to all of the winners as determined by the advice and accounting communities.

Award winners

  • Class Super: SMSF accounting software/administration
  • Cromwell: Property
  • Macquarie: Cash and term deposits
  • FIIG Securities: Fixed income
  • Westpac: Residential property loans
  • CommSec: Australian shares
  • TAL: Insurance
  • BT Wrap: Investment platform
  • Magellan: International shares

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