Women likely to change SMSF investments

Following a divorce, over 40 per cent of women will actively change their SMSF’s investment strategy, according to a recent report.

The finding was taken from the SMSF Association and Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s “CommBank SMSF Report 2017”.

At the 2017 Women, Super and Wealth Summit in Sydney last week, Chief Executive Women non-executive director Diane Garner-Smith facilitated several panel discussions exploring the causes of the gender gap in superannuation, as well as pathways to wealth and secure retirement for women.

“One of the stats that really slapped me in the face was that after divorce, 41 per cent of women will make changes to the investment strategy of their SMSF,” Garner-Smith said.

“So it’s very interesting that there’s obviously a conversation going on with couples where the views of the male partner are taken into account a great deal more than the female partner.”

However, SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said while the typical stereotype of an SMSF was a mum and dad trustee with the male being the dominant decision-maker, the report also uncovered it was not necessarily men driving the decisions for SMSFs.

“You will see that there is a dominant spouse in a certain area or during a certain time, but collectively about 84 per cent of SMSFs jointly made decisions in the SMSF world because of their engagement and the way they leveraged off each other and leveraged off advice services,” Slattery noted.

“The research also looked at what women want and what the gap is for what they were receiving either from an advice or service perspective, and it’s a natural thing – a lot of women take longer to make a decision, but once they do, they’re much more loyal to that decision.”

Further, the report indicated women were willing to pay more for advice under a mentoring arrangement.

“So [they are looking for] someone or a group of people who will work closely with them to help women understand what they’re doing with their super fund and to overcome any financial services language or jargon barriers because there are plenty,” Slattery said.

“But once practitioners spoke with female clients one-on-one, they started changing the model of the advice and services they provide, whether that’s through technology services or just an advice service, because women are really changing the way in which they are engaging, in contrast to males who usually make a quick decision and are often not as loyal to those decisions.

“Women are more inclined to stick with their decision and stay with their mentor or coach.

“We’ve really been encouraging the advice and financial services markets to change significantly in the way in which they deliver those opportunities through communication.”

The summit, presented by the SMSF Association and Financial Services Council, also brought up debate from the audience suggesting the government allowed superannuation to have more flexibility as a family-friendly structure.

Slattery said the structure of an SMSF allowed for a family super scenario.

“It allows you flexibility to be able to do what you can, when you can, and [easily contribute or implement strategies] over and above what your superannuation guarantee is,” she noted.

“Those sorts of opportunities and flexibilities are really important.”

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