The SMSF Association has noted interest and support for specialist financial advice is increasing from several different sections of the industry.
SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney cited recent messages from regulators and other government bodies as one sign of this trend.
“This growing momentum for advisers to have specialist SMSF qualifications is being actively encouraged by regulatory bodies, with the latest example being recent draft guidance from the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) that highlights the need for specialist advice,” Maroney said.
Specifically, FASEA has included in the Q&A section of its draft guidance a situation where it recommends specialist SMSF advice be sought.
The question in the material asks: “As an adviser, I have basic knowledge in SMSF that I learnt when undertaking an approved graduate diploma. My client has requested specialist SMSF advice involving a number of complex issues. Should I provide the advice to the client?”
“In these circumstances, it would be appropriate for the adviser to seek the assistance of another adviser with the specialist SMSF skills before giving advice or refer the client to another adviser with the necessary competency. If the adviser wished to give this type of advice in the future, they should undertake additional SMSF specialist study and training before doing so,” is the government body’s response.
According to Maroney, the appetite to become a specialist SMSF adviser has also grown and serves as another indication of how the importance of specialist advice is rising.
To this end, the association revealed it experienced an increase beyond 40 per cent in the number of practitioners enrolling in its SMSF Specialist Advisor program for the three-month period ending 30 September this year compared to the previous quarter.
“It’s gratifying that a growing number of advisers are seeking to enhance their specialist knowledge, realising that by doing so they are enhancing the viability of our superannuation sector,” he said.
“This is particularly relevant at a time when the broader superannuation industry is focusing on performance and fees. One outcome could be a growing demand for SMSFs, so it’s important advisers are qualified to determine the appropriateness of SMSFs for their clients and, if they proceed, to be able to handle complex issues that may later arise.”
Specialist financial advice, Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, FASEA.