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Provision of one-stop-shop is accountants’ challenge

The ability to be able to provide a single destination for the advice needs of SMSF trustees will be the fundamental challenge for accountants over the coming year, according to a senior executive of a financial services research house.

CoreData head of financial services Julian Fewtrell said the predicament facing accountants with SMSF clients stems from a combination of what trustees were seeking and the desire of accountants to guard their reputation among consumers in a changing industry environment.

“From a trustee or member perspective it’s still about people chasing trusted advice,” Fewtrell explained.

“That’s the number one priority.

“About 50 per cent of the market is also looking for a one-stop-shop so they want to go to one place to get that trusted advice.”

Fewtrell cited the new licensing regime governing SMSF advice as the factor that will make satisfying the advice needs of trustees much more difficult for accountants than is currently the case, especially for those practitioners who do not want to become licensed.

“That’s a fundamental challenge for the industry because what we’re seeing in a lot of the focus groups is the accountants who have been providing a lot of this advice, rightly or wrongly, see themselves as the trusted adviser,” he said.

“And they struggle with the prospect of referring business to financial planners that they don’t have sufficient trust in to recommend their highly valuable clients.

“So I think the next 12 months is going to be very interesting for SMSF advisers and for trustees as they seek advice that they are looking for and they seek professional groups that are going to be able to provide the full gamut of advice that they are looking for.”

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