Citi Australia is increasing its activities in the SMSF market using an ‘education and validation’ approach as it expects increasing growth in its client base going forward.
“We’ve got over 2500 SMSFs in the book and we see this growing at quite a rapid rate for two reasons,” Citi Australia head of wealth management distribution David Zammit told selfmanagedsuper.
“One is that we know from all the analysis that a significant portion of high net worth clients will set up an SMSF in the next 12 to 18 months.
“We also know that whenever you’ve got a market that’s not significantly outperforming, the first thing that investors look to do is to try and minimise costs, so what we’re finding is that a lot of clients have been in a super fund for many years and their balance has been eaten away by fees.
“They will inherently reach out to an accountant, or whoever it may be, to find a more cost-effective way to do it and in a lot of cases, given they have the right amount, an SMSF is a good way to take control.”
The biggest priority for Citi currently is to continuing to build advocacy, particularly as many SMSFs preferred a sounding board approach to the relationship, Zammit revealed.
“Citi’s not a well-known brand in Australia so we’re using our current network to build that advocacy,” he said.
“Most of our clients who come to us are really looking for education and validation – they don’t want to be told what to do.”
He added about 90 per cent of Citi’s SMSF client base identified as coach seekers, as opposed to outsourcers and controllers.
“What we’re finding is the advocacy spreads like an avalanche once investors realise two things: they don’t have to keep paying crazy fees for what they perceive as getting nothing for it and they can use their SMSF to buy investments that don’t need the market to go up,” he noted.
“This is our biggest driver.”