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Accountants could reap SMSF advice rewards

The latest research into the SMSF sector has shown a significant number of trustees would be willing to use an accountant currently only being used for tax advice for investment advice if they decided to offer it.

The “Vanguard/Investment Trends April 2013 Self Managed Super Fund Report” asked trustees that question in light of the current changing advisory landscape.

“We had 77,000 SMSFs saying they used just an accountant for investment advice, we had 190,000 saying they used an accountant only for tax advice, and 23,000 SMSFs saying they used an accountant for other services,” Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker said.

“With the upcoming limited licensing reforms and so on and so forth, we thought we’d ask investors whether they’d be willing to use their accountant for tax advice also for investment advice and what we found was 45 per cent said yes.

“So 86,000 in total [45 per cent] said yes I would use my current accountant for tax advice also for investment advice, which is quite a substantial number.”

In addition, the study found the use of financial advisers among SMSFs was on the rise, with 205,000 funds using a financial planner, 55,000 SMSFs using another RG 146-compliant adviser, and 140,000 funds using advisers who cannot give them investment advice.

This compares to totals of 200,000, 50,000, and 135,000 for the same respective categories in April 2012, representing an increase of 2.5 per cent in absolute terms.

“Although the proportion of SMSFs that use a financial planner has been coming down slowly over the past few years, in absolute terms the number that use an adviser has been quite steady and has actually increased a bit over the last year,” Peker said.

The research found advisers were still mainly used to complement investment decisions, with 42 per cent of SMSF members using advisers in this role as opposed to 38 per cent at the same time last year.

“The things SMSF investors say is ‘I use advisers more for technical skills than investment guidance’, or ‘I use them because I like having a second opinion’,” Peker said.

“They also like using them [advisers] because they want access to a wider range of investments.”

The report was compiled from an online survey in March and April using information received from 1927 valid responses.

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