SMSFs should be prototype

SMSF sector

The SMSF sector should be seen as a prototype demonstrating how Australians can be better serviced in retirement by super funds, an industry body leader has said.

SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney has suggested the retirement savings industry should use the SMSF sector as a model for how to better service Australians in retirement.

Speaking at the SMSF Association 2020 National Conference Thought Leadership Breakfast this morning, Maroney made the recommendation based on the sector’s demographic, which dictated the need to find optimal solutions for Australians in retirement more urgently.

“What we’re doing now in our sector is what the rest of the super system needs to be thinking about and planning about over the next 10 or 15 years, so in that sense we’re almost a prototype for the whole system as it moves from primarily accumulation to substantially decumulation,” he told the breakfast event at the industry body’s conference on the Gold Coast.

“How the drawdown phase is managed is really going to be important for many, many people in the system and for regulators.”

He also called for an improvement in the fund set-up process, echoing the sentiment of SMSF Association members.

“Getting new SMSFs established is taking longer through the ATO. There’s more auditing [and] there’s more checking being done,” he noted.

Discussions regarding this issue are already underway, he added.

“We’ve raised this with both the assistant commissioner [of the ATO and] I expect there to be some discussion about this later in the week,” he said.

He acknowledged the reason behind this fund establishment delay is the ATO’s concerns regarding the illegal early access of superannuation benefits via SMSFs and said all parties involved had to work together to find a better method to combat this illegal behaviour.

“We’d like to see those areas which bring disrepute to the system, which undermine its integrity removed, and that requires a cooperative effort by the regulator, by the government, by the industry and by all of us to identify these risk elements and finding better ways of dealing with them than we have at the moment,” he said.

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