Super reforms spark self-doubt

The impending changes to the superannuation rules and the length of time the process has taken are causing advisers to question their understanding of the retirement savings system, according to a technical consultant in the industry.

Speaking at the SMSF Association Sydney Local Community breakfast yesterday, BT Financial Group senior technical consultant David O’Connell said: “How [the technical team] is talking to advisers has changed over the last couple of months. Advisers are showing a bit of self-doubt, they’ve lost a bit of confidence in their knowledge of the rules.

“They know them, but they don’t know that they know them, so they’re not absolutely sure.”

O’Connell cited a query regarding the work test requirement as an example of an aspect of the superannuation laws that has caused some adviser confusion.

Although this is one aspect of the system that was earmarked to be abolished, in the final legislation it was left unamended and planners are still seeking confirmation this is the case from technical teams before providing advice to clients, he said.

“[The trouble is] these changes were announced a million years ago before the [federal] election,” he pointed out.

“There’s just been so much chopping and changing it’s hard [for advisers] to know with certainty exactly what has happened.

“What advisers would say typically is ‘look, this is a question I’ve had, what’s the answer’ and they’ll start going through the client scenario and ask me ‘look, can I just run this past you, I think I’m good, but I just want to be comfortable I haven’t missed [anything] and there are no unintended consequences from what I’m about to do’.”

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