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AMP eyeing official trustee education role

AMP is looking to leverage off its newly developed SMSF research and education centre to provide an official facility for trustees to satisfy any education orders received from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as part of the regulator’s new penalty regime.

“We’ll hopefully have something that has been approved by the ATO pretty soon,” AMP SMSF head of policy, technical and educational services Peter Burgess told selfmanagedsuper.

Burgess said it was likely to be a jointly branded course with AMP’s research and education centre partner, the University of Adelaide, and would operate in a similar manner to the education program offered by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

The format would most likely consist of a three-hour online course with an emphasis on interactive content such as videos.

However, Burgess said he wanted the educational facility to go further than just provide a compliance tool for SMSF members.

“I see it as being broader than just for trustees’ breaches of the rules. I see it as a facility for individuals, who are perhaps considering establishing an SMSF, to be able to complete a course that allows them to understand their roles and responsibilities as superannuation trustees,” he said.

The initial demand for the course would come from ATO orders stemming from breaches, but AMP would do its best to direct trustees posing general online questions to the organisation’s technical experts to the education service, he said.

He also wondered how the ATO might view or treat trustees who decided to complete the course of their own volition.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether they’ll get a tick on their annual return acknowledging they’ve done some education and that they’re taking their responsibilities more seriously,” he said.

“I think over time we may see the education for SMSFs develop down that path.”

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