SMSF accountants remain the first choice for people seeking to establish a fund compared to specialist advisers, but both groups have reported clients are the chief initiators when deciding to set-up a fund, according to research provided to selfmanagedsuper.
The Investment Trends “SMSF Planner and Accountant Report” found 54 per cent of SMSF advisers had assisted with the set-up of a least one new SMSF in the year to the end of March 2021, compared with 68 per cent of SMSF accountants.
The report also found that where a practitioner was involved in the creation of multiple SMSFs, accountants also had higher levels of interaction, with 28 per cent reporting being involved in the set-up of three to five funds, 8 per cent in the establishment of six to 10 funds and 9 per cent in the creation of 10 or more funds.
In comparison, 13 per cent of SMSF advisers reported they were involved in the creation of three to five funds, 7 per cent in the set-up of six to 10 funds and 5 per cent in the establishment of 10 or more funds.
The level of involvement was also evident in a finding that showed the average number of clients for an SMSF adviser was 16, with five new clients acquired in the past year, compared to an average of 60 SMSF clients for accountants, with seven new clients acquired in the same period.
Both groups, however, reported clients were the leading driver behind the setting up of new SMSFs, with advisers stating 53 per cent of new establishments were initiated by clients and accountants reporting 58 per cent of new funds were initiated by clients.
Speaking with selfmanagedsuper, Investment Trends head of research Dr Irene Guiamatsia said the nature of the initial advice meant advisers and accountants differed in what further education they wanted to provide to SMSF trustees.
While both groups considered the suitability of an SMSF as a key area, accountants were more focused on estate planning than advisers.
“We know about half of SMSF trustees are already in the pension phase. It’s not a surprise that estate planning is an issue for [SMSF trustees in the pension phase],” Guiamatsia said.
“The reason why it’s a big issue is because not many SMSF investors are actually using an adviser who can assist them in that area and the use of advisers has actually declined.”
Investment Trends found estate planning ranked fifth for SMSF advisers and their primary areas of concern included regulatory changes and the roles and responsibilities of SMSF trustees.