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SPAA reaffirms opposition to compensation

The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) has reiterated its opposition to any form of structured compensation scheme for trustees running their own retirement savings vehicles.

The industry body repeated its stance on the matter in response to Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos’s announcement that SMSF trustees had to understand they had taken on the responsibility for making decisions about their superannuation and thus had to be self-reliant in that regard.

“On this issue and the issue of raising the standards of advice and competency, SPAA concurs with the Minister,” SPAA chief executive Andrea Slattery said.

“The guiding philosophy underpinning self-managed super is that trustees/members take responsibility for their own retirement income outcomes.”

However, Slattery pointed out any perceptions about SMSFs having no method of recourse against fraud or theft affecting their superannuation balances were incorrect.

“Although SMSFs don’t have access to compensation under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 that is available, at the Minister’s discretion and only where it is in the public’s best interest to approve compensation for APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority)-regulated funds, there are other legal avenues that SMSFs can pursue,” she said.

“These include but are not limited to personal indemnity schemes; actions under the corporations law; action in the courts to obtain compensation for damages; the Financial Ombudsman; and the banking and credit legislation.”

As curiosity about the government’s approach to the SMSF sector is increasing, SPAA is providing practitioners attending its national conference in Brisbane later this month the opportunity to ask the Assistant Treasurer direct questions about policy issues in this area during his opening day presentation.

“With the budget only three months away and the financial services inquiry underway, I have no doubt there will be a diverse range of questions for the Senator,” Slattery said.

To complement Sinodinos’s presentation, other senior industry officials will also be giving their insights into the sector as part of the event’s final plenary session.

Delegates would also hear from federal Treasury revenue group executive director Rob Heferen, Australian Taxation Office deputy commissioner Alison Lendon and Australian Securities and Investments Commission commissioner Greg Tanzer about their current SMSF work programs as well as any findings, Slattery said.

“The opportunity for our members to tap into these senior executives’ thinking will be invaluable in their roles as specialist SMSF advisers,” she said.

Delegates will also have the chance to hear from opposition superannuation spokesperson Bernie Ripoll on the final day of the conference.

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