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PwC to boost bespoke SMSF services

PwC has revealed personalised administration and audit services, together with technical SMSF advisory services, will receive a big push as part of the professional services firm’s future agenda.

PwC Private Clients director Liz Westover said she was employed by the group in November last year to manage the firm’s SMSF offering, however, she would still be working in conjunction with the wider PwC team across all its superannuation offerings.

“We’re looking to increase the number of SMSFs we look after from an administration, compliance and tax agent function, but that’s just part of the overall offering,” Westover told selfmanagedsuper.

“Our consulting services may be used by large super funds on tax arrangements, pension payments or any other type of consulting services, but we’re now looking to give bespoke advice for small to medium practices (SMP).

“We’re a big team that looks after all the consulting services to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-regulated space, so we’re working with them around offering a broader service to the super industry, however, we’ll have a strong focus on our offerings in the SMSF industry.

“We’ve got quite a number of SMSF clients across nine offices nationally and it’s something that we’re certainly looking to grow.”

Commenting on increasing PwC’s administration and audit work, she said there would be a distinct point of difference, away from traditional services.

“We’re not heading in the direction of a commoditised offering,” she revealed.

“Typically our client base would be more high net wealth individuals with potentially more complex issues, so we’re looking for a quality personalised offering.”

PwC also wanted to expand on its bespoke advice capability, she added.

“Part of that is providing support to other practitioners in the area,” she said.

“What I’m hoping to leverage off is our service called Advisor Connection we rolled out nationally toward the end of last year, which is a member-based program for SMPs to provide them with specific and expert technical advice to [pass onto] their key clients.

“Sometimes they might have a very complex issue and might need a bit of a helping hand, so we’re here to provide them with that advice, but we’ll also be helping them to brainstorm ideas for some of their key clients and create some opportunities that can be taken up with those clients, as well as how to best service those individuals.”

She said that was an important development because of the removal of the accountants’ exemption and the challenges of the new limited licensing regime.

“There are going to be a number of practitioners who won’t be able to give advice on SMSFs,” she said.

“Also, I think sometimes more general practitioners, especially in the SMP segment, may not have the highly technical expertise in-house around superannuation, but it’s not limited to super – it could be on GST, employment taxes, fringe benefit taxes or offshore arrangements.

“It’s still very new at this stage so we’re looking at building up that service offering.

“We’re not trying to take clients, but to assist them with their clients.”

The firm was working to ensure it was leveraging off the synergies and efficiencies that came with having a national offering, she said.

She said she planned to use blogs, social media, industry events and conferences, regulatory meetings and consultations to support PwC’s visibility and relationships in the SMSF space.

Westover began her Melbourne-based role on 30 November after six years at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand as head of superannuation.

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