Attacks on SMSFs ignore behavioural fundamentals

Attacks against SMSF overlook the reason many people set up the funds in the first place.

Criticism of SMSFs from other parts of the superannuation industry disregard the real appeal of these types of retirement savings structures and underestimates their future strength, an online investment marketplace provider has said.

Speaking at the OpenInvest Future of Financial Advice, Guidance and Investment Assistance roundtable in Sydney today, OpenInvest chief executive Andrew Varlamos said: “To argue against self-managed super funds at a holistic level [means] you’re arguing against key human traits and desires that apply to everything in people’s lives.

“[Things like] self-control, transparency and knowing what’s going on with what belongs to them and I think the sector as a result will therefore remain strong because people like to be in control.

“It’s a natural human desire.”

Fellow roundtable participant SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said his organisation was ready to stand up and be counted in the face of the new wave of criticism from industry funds because of the important role SMSFs play in the superannuation landscape.

“We think the sector is very suitable and appropriate for most people that are in [an SMSF]. I won’t say for everyone because people’s circumstances change, so people may have come in with one plan they haven’t executed or they’ve been there for a long time and it’s probably time to move out,” Maroney said.

“We believe the sector is a very good contributor in providing competition and competitive tension to the rest of the super system, so we’ll watch with interest any of the storm clouds gathering, but our expectations are the sector will continue to grow and be healthy.”

He admitted the sector would face more difficult times should there be a change of government at the federal level this year.

“Based on policies that have been announced by Labor … they’re on the record of wanting to do things which would be relatively negative for the whole system, particularly those in the self-managed sector, and that will make life more challenging.”

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