Retaining a piece of the sector pie: SMSF awards 2017

According to the ATO’s figures at the end of September, the SMSF sector is fast approaching $675 billion in assets, with 600,000 SMSFs made up of 1.1 million members. The continued growth of the sector has meant businesses servicing those advisers with SMSF clients must ensure their proposition not only continues to address their current needs, but also anticipates the needs of the future.

In conjunction with selfmanagedsuper, industry research firm CoreData shortlisted a group of service-providing finalists across 16 adviser-voted categories. On 24 August, during the awards ceremony held at the Tea Room in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building, CoreData principal Andrew Inwood revealed the next phase of the maturation of the SMSF sector was dealing with growth remaining at the same level.

“The net number of new people coming into the system is flattening out because we’re getting market growth, but not new market growth, which is what occurs when you have a new market and people flock to it,” Inwood explains.

“Once that’s happened, you only get the speed of the rest of the market growing and people tipping out at the top end of superannuation or people getting closer to retirement. So this means trustees are starting to make decisions about who their best service provider is.”

Commenting on the nine out of 16 repeat winners this year, he says it’s interesting to see a small number of businesses continue to dominate in the SMSF space.

“We’re seeing late market-cycle behaviour in the marketplace. The companies that have won in the past have been those who were first to market, but we’re starting to see that change as [product and service providers] offer better and better solutions,” he says.

“Also the ones who are clearly winning are often offering better client services.

“There are groups in there where unless you can invest as much as the winners, you’re just never going to catch up.

“It’s all very well to say a company has spent $200 million into their product and that’s an enormous amount, but some companies spend that every year, so get with the game.

“How long they can continue doing that, I don’t know, so that makes it hard for people entering the market to try and get a foothold.

“The finalists who do win are persistent on usability, not necessarily performance, so they’ve been investing in usability.”The fifth annual SMSF Service Provider Awards saw half of the adviser-voted winners return for the second year in a row, demonstrating trustees are exercising choice and forming favourites when it comes to their preferred brands and services.

Krystine Lumanta and Penny Pryor uncover what is setting these businesses apart and what has helped many of them maintain their position in the market.

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