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Accountants chase SMSF clients

Accountants more SMSF clients

Accountants have expressed a desire to add more SMSF clients to their books of business, according to the latest industry research.

The latest Investment Trends sector research has shown accountants want to service more SMSF clients and are experiencing a steady level of interest in establishing this type of superannuation fund among their existing clients.

The “2020 SMSF Accountant Report” showed accountants want their existing SMSF client base to lift, on average, from 129 to 174, representing a 35 per cent increase.

However, respondents admitted they felt they would be hamstrung by certain factors in their efforts to achieve this growth target.

“In their quest to serve more SMSF trustees, accountants say their top challenges are regulatory in nature, ranging from licensing restrictions on providing financial advice (49 per cent say so), heightened regulation in setting up SMSFs (34 per cent) to compliance obligations (31 per cent),” Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said.

“However, many accountants also face issues on the client-facing side, such as competitive pricing/fee recovery (38 per cent) and attracting new SMSF clients (29 per cent).”

In addition, survey participants indicated the appetite to establish an SMSF among existing clients supported their desire grow the number of SMSF trustees they are currently servicing.

“SMSF trustees already comprise a large segment of accountants’ total client base (36 per cent, on average). Still, accountants estimate a further one in eight of their clients are suitable for an SMSF and half of this cohort has expressed an interest in establishing one,” Choi noted.

He pointed out this sentiment is something organisations providing services to the accounting profession should note.

“Given the large pool of potential SMSFs, there is a clear opportunity for service providers to help accountants better serve this segment,” he said.

“To help educate clients and facilitate SMSF set up, accountants want to be better equipped to explain the suitability of SMSFs (52 per cent) and the roles and responsibilities of trustees (49 per cent).”

Areas of differentiation on which these service providers should concentrate are an effective client portal, ongoing training and support, and cost effectiveness, he noted.

The “2020 SMSF Accountant Report” was concluded in March and collated survey responses from 715 accountants in public practice.

Earlier this year, accountants were urged to move away from providing only administration services to SMSFs and late last year the Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said he was supportive of accountants being allowed to provide incidental advice around superannuation and the creation and use of SMSFs.

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