Macquarie Adviser Services: Addressing evolving needs

SMSF Service Provider Awards: Cash and accounting

Offering its cash products to investors, intermediaries, software vendors and administrators for over 30 years, Macquarie Group doesn’t downplay the pace of innovation and progress occurring in the SMSF space, with which it must keep up.

“It’s really fast moving in terms of technology that’s available,” Macquarie Adviser Services head of product cash and SMSF solutions Peter Forrest says.

“What we’re trying to do constantly is understand what is changing in the technology space, what we can offer in the space and also listen to what the needs are.

“As long as we’re in an industry which is so dependent on technology change, the demands are going to change with that.”

Answering these needs by evolving its cash solutions to integrate with clients’ businesses, as well as ensuring it improves adviser and accountant efficiencies, has resulted in the group securing both cash accolades in the CoreData SMSF Awards in the SMSF advising financial planner and SMSF advising accountant categories.

“What we really focused on was the account opening process and trying to cut down the amount it takes for advisers to set up a cash account for SMSFs,” Forrest says.

“One thing we launched this year was new online applications with electronic verification, which makes the process much more efficient and faster for advisers and clients. We’ve had excellent feedback on that.”

At the highest level, this year advisers were searching for cash providers who could help reduce administrative burdens, he says.

“They’re looking at how to ensure there’s connectivity set up between the products and their office, so whatever software they’re using for the cash account has to easily integrate into their business,” he says, adding the same challenge has emerged from the accounting space.

“We’ve had to make sure that the narrative on the transactions is rich enough that they know what each transaction is for.

“That helps them to manage their clients’ cash flow and come audit time, they have a rich source of information in their cash accounts to be able to carry out what they need to do from an audit administration perspective.”

Despite numerous cash offerings available in the market, he says advisers and accountants are still in search of something better.

“Particularly in the accounting space, we’re coming across a lot of practices where when we go through what solutions Macquarie has and what their pain points are, then [we’re] finding [areas] where we can offer solutions to help them manage their cash flow,” he says

“We’re coming across that quite a bit at the moment.”

He says receiving both cash awards is a great reflection of adviser and accountant acknowledgement of the value Macquarie is providing. “We continue to be the cash account for more than one in four SMSFs,” he says.

Providing cash for investors and advisers is a substantial part of Macquarie’s business and it would therefore continue to invest in its offerings, he says.

“It’s absolutely a priority for us to continue to invest as it is how we got to our position today,” he says.

“It’s integral to our future too that we have a breadth of expertise in this space. We have teams that are focused on delivering value for advisers and accountants, including service staff who truly know how to resolve problems.

“It’s not about selling a product to the accountant or the financial adviser; it’s about selling a solution to help them more efficiently run their business and manage their clients’ cash flow.&rdquo

Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group head of sales for cash Mark Brennan collected the award in the financial planner category, while Macquarie Wealth Management head of the accounting segment David Clatworthy accepted the accountant award.

More SMSF Service Provider Award winners

  • Perpetual: Australian share fund
  • PIMCO: Fixed income
  • BGL: SMSF accounting software/administration
  • Magellan: International shares
  • Colonial First State: Investment platforms
  • Multiport: SMSF administration
  • TAL: Life insurance
  • ING Direct: Term deposits
  • AMP Capital: Commercial property
  • AMP Bank: SMSF term deposits
  • NAB: SMSF property loans

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