In a year like no other, the SMSF sector has continued to support the retirement plans of more than 1 million Australians, ably assisted by a range of service providers with the best recognised in the eighth annual selfmanagedsuper CoreData SMSF Service Provider Awards. Tharshini Ashokan and Jason Spits take a look at why advisers favoured these firms.
In a year that will be best remembered for the coronavirus and the ensuing global slowdown that forced many work from home, the task of providing products and services to the SMSF sector took on a new dimension.
It could be argued that, fundamentally, COVID-19 has not changed the SMSF space. The rules around how funds operate have remained the same and the belated 2020/21 federal budget, for the first time in some years, added no further conditions to those rules.
Yet at the same time change has arrived. Few investment managers would have predicted a sudden and sharp market downturn in the last quarter of the previous financial year, nor the government stimulus packages that helped reverse it. Predicting which markets will recover in the long and short term is an ongoing discussion investment teams are having internally and with their investor clients.
Service providers – such as administrators, document providers and technical experts – also had to reconsider how they could continue to provide their offerings when they could not physically meet or contact clients, and their staff were forced to operate from home offices almost at the drop of a hat.
Technology has always played a role in empowering SMSF service providers and advisers to support and assist clients, but the events of this year have some claiming it has pushed forward the adoption of remote working and online client servicing by about five years.
The following pages cover how the firms named as the leading service providers for SMSF advisers for 2020 have handled COVID-19 for their staff and their clients, and a common theme is more communication matched to the circumstances at hand.
This article appears in the Issue 32 of selfmanagedsuper magazine.