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SMSF adviser role shifts

The latest industry research has shown SMSF trustee attitudes have changed in how they would like financial advisers to play a role in the running of their super funds.

The Vanguard/Investment Trends “2016 Self Managed Super Fund Report” categorises advice personas into four categories: delegators, being trustees who want the adviser to do everything; validators, being trustees wanting advisers to validate their own decisions; self-directed, being trustees wanting relatively infrequent and specific advice; and other.

Over the past few years the self-directed persona has dominated SMSF trustees, with at least 50 per cent of respondents admitting that was how they used their financial adviser.

However, in the 2016 study the proportion of trustees considering themselves to be self-directed fell to 42 per cent from a survey high of 54 per cent in 2015.

Conversely, 48 per cent of trustees now considered themselves validators in regard to the role they wanted their financial adviser to play, up from 35 per cent in the 2015 report.

“The proportion of self-directors has come down quite substantially over the past couple of years,” Investment Trends head of wealth management research Recep Peker said.

“It means that more SMSFs are not confident in picking all the investments in their SMSF.”

The study showed the change in attitudes towards the financial adviser’s role coincided with a renewed willingness for SMSF trustees to invest in managed funds, reflecting a slight relaxing of the amount of control sought by SMSF members over the running of their funds.

In response to whether or not they intended to invest in managed funds in the future, 34 per cent of those surveyed said they might, while 17 per cent said they would within the next year and a further 3 per cent revealed they would, but in a year’s time.

According to Peker, that trend was not defeating the main purpose of SMSF trustees wanting to have greater control over their retirement savings.

“They still want control in the SMSF, but they don’t necessarily want to control everything, like every individual component; they are happy to outsource the investment solutions to other providers,” he noted.

“They just find that fund managers also make it easy to get diversification, so it’s about saving them time as well.

“It kind of brings together all the trends we have seen to date. Fewer SMSFs are happy to make all the decisions themselves on their own and more SMSFs are validators.

“They’re saying they want to go to a financial planner to get a second opinion, or another adviser to get a second opinion, on whether they are making the right decision or how they can access the products they want.

“It’s really good news for financial planners.”

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