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Planners, accountants miss opportunity so far

Looking through a keyhole towards a person standing on grassy green hills

Number of SMSFs using advisers remains flat despite rise in total SMSFs.

The latest industry research has shown financial planners and accountants have in the main not been able to use the growth of the SMSF sector over the past 10 years to their advantage.

The “2018 Vanguard/Investment Trends Self-Managed Super Fund Reports” revealed the number of SMSFs using either of these types of practitioner has not increased significantly relative to the rise in the total number of self-managed funds.

“If you look at the number of SMSFs that use a financial planner, it’s remained flat [210,000 in 2007 and 210,000 in 2018], while the number of SMSFs has really grown. So planners are doing as well as they were 10 years ago in the SMSF market, but their overall penetration to the broader SMSFs hasn’t increased over the years,” Investment Trends head of wealth management research Recep Peker said.

“If you look at accountants, they fared better. Now 350,000 SMSFs say they use an accountant [compared to 245,000 in 2007], but overall the number who do not use an accountant has nearly tripled in the last 10 years. It’s gone from 95,000 to 243,000.”
Peker pointed out one factor that has not played a role in this lack of growth in the use of advisers is client satisfaction.

“If you look at those who have a relationship with a financial planner and those that have a relationship with an accountant, you’ll find that SMSFs are even happier than they were before with their financial advisers,” he said.

“The average planner now gets a satisfaction score of 81 per cent and accountants aren’t that far behind (77 per cent). Essentially anything above 67 per cent is good and you can see that overall financial planners and accountants are doing really well and have very satisfied clients.”

According to Peker, factors such as digital disruption have played a more significant role in this trend.

“One hundred and fifteen thousand SMSFs now say that they use online admin firms to administer their SMSF, hence they don’t need to use an accountant,” he noted.

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