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2015 a breakthrough in SMSF professionalism

The year 2015 has been significant for the SMSF sector as recognition of specified professionals operating in the space came to fruition, according to SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery.

“[One] thing that 2015 has brought about is the concept of the SMSF professional,” Slattery told attendees at the recent SMSF Association Sydney Chapter Christmas lunch.

“SMSF advice is now recognised as a profession by a lot of people in industry and government and it’s starting to actually infiltrate back out into the market.

“We have a significant and growing part of our membership, for instance, that is now an SMSF professional in their own right regardless of whether or not they are doing other things within their remit.”

Slattery also cited the change in the government’s approach toward the taxing of retirement benefits as a significant development of 2015.

“Tax is now very firmly back on the agenda so superannuation within the tax regime is actually a subject for discussion again,” she explained.

Slattery recognised this aspect of the tax regime was very volatile but pin pointed areas the SMSF Association saw as important to examine.

“From our perspective we would like to see the debate move around not only equity and fairness but sustainability and adequacy,” she said.

“We would like to see the measurement of super and the tax concessions come to the fore.

“We’ve presented before the Senate committee on that this year and there was a report that’s come down to say they will actually be looking at the way in which they address the tax concessions going forward.”

In other news the SMSF Association has praised the government’s choice of fund and transparency draft legislation believing it will lead to greater member engagement.

“The association is a strong advocate of people having the choice about where their superannuation is held and invested, and as such we support this legislative move to enshrine these principles in the superannuation laws,” Slattery said.

“These moves also will facilitate having more information about investment choice and increased requirements around the disclosure of portfolio holdings, giving Australians a better opportunity to assess and compare how they can invest their superannuation, irrespective of whether they are in an SMSF or an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-regulated fund.

“What is critical is for people to be engaged with their superannuation at all stages of their life cycle so that they can continue to make informed decisions along their retirement savings journey.”

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