SMSF trustees are moving online more than ever to network with other trustees and advisers, check their asset allocation and learn more about investments, according to AMP Capital statistics.
The number of members of AMP Capital’s online SMSF Community, launched in 2015, doubled to 600 during 2016.
The virtual network allows SMSF trustees and professionals to build connections and share ideas and experiences.
Popular topics have included how to gain long-term returns via equities, what the federal budget means for trustees, tax and regulation, and how to diversify a portfolio in a low interest rate environment.
AMP Capital’s online asset allocation tool, Pulse, has attracted nearly 3500 unique users since its launch in February.
Pulse allows trustees to compare their asset mix to other trustees and industry experts.
AMP Capital also revealed subscribers to its weekly newsletter had increased 50 per cent year on year, while downloads for its investment white papers experienced a 485 per cent jump.
From January to August 2016, more than 200,000 unique visitors accessed the investment manager’s online SMSF Suite.
“This year, there has been a spike in the level of engagement that SMSF trustees are seeking with us on a digital platform,” AMP Capital head of SMSF and self-directed wealth Tim Keegan revealed.
“We’re also seeing more adviser engagement online as well.
“The more information SMSF trustees receive, the more they want and they are becoming voracious consumers of information online – something we believe is linked with their desire for control of their retirement portfolio.”
Keegan said there had also been an increase in the number of customers and advisers attending its webinars, where they were able to engage with the managers investing their money, with infrastructure and regulatory webinars reported as the most popular topic.
Outside of the digital space, he identified an increased awareness and use of exchange-traded managed funds by SMSF trustees and continued interest in real assets – infrastructure and property – as other trends to look out for in the sector for 2017.
“With interest rates still at historic lows, it’s clear the lower-for-longer environment for investment returns isn’t going to change any time soon,” he noted.
“Trustees are subsequently looking for new asset classes to invest in to give them the returns they need to meet their goals.
“In 2016, trustees have flocked to commercial property and infrastructure, with flows into the AMP Capital Wholesale Australian Property Fund and the AMP Capital Core Infrastructure Fund increasing year on year 94 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively.”
He highlighted that Australia had experienced significant growth in exchange-traded funds during the past five years and the next frontier would be their managed fund equivalents.
“Exchange-traded managed funds, which we launched this year in alliance with Betashares, replicate the investment strategies of existing AMP Capital managed funds but are able to be bought and sold during the trading day like any share on the Australian Securities Exchange,” he said.
“We expect greater interest in these funds next year as trustees and advisers learn how to use them in a balanced portfolio.”