The number of SMSF planners being used ‘going nowhere’

The number of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) using a financial planner since 2007 has gone “almost nowhere”. 

Micheal Blomfield, Investment Trends chief executive, said this was in a period which saw a doubling of the number of SMSFs. 

“There’s 300,000 SMSFs who use some sort of an adviser but not a financial planner, there’s 110,000 who say they don’t use any adviser and around 190,000 SMSF trustees that are using a financial planner,” Blomfield said. 

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According to findings from the 2020 Vanguard/Investment Trends SMSF investor report, the number of SMSFs with unmet advice needs grew 6% from 315,000 in 2019 to 335,000 in 2020. 

“The challenge here is that there is a very big advice need that goes unmet – there’s 335,000 SMSF trustees that say they have unmet advice needs in relation to their SMSFs,” Blomfield said. 

The need for advice was “vastly more intense and widespread” than it was even a year ago. 

“We’ve seen huge increases, something in the order of 75,000 SMSF trustees who say they need investment strategy portfolio review,” Blomfield said. 

“There’s a very large and growing demand for advice across all of the factors of investing: identifying what to buy, protecting assets, investing offshore, and there’s a lot more demand than there was a year ago for advice around exchange traded funds (ETFs). 

“Then there’s [demand] around tax and income strategies, so pension strategy, inheritance and estate planning, tax planning, contribution strategies and retirement adequacy issues.  

“While the number who need advice is growing and the number who gave advice is falling, the intensity and breadth of advice that they need continues to rise.” 

The report also showed the most popular drawdown methods were the bucket approach (53%) followed by income from investments (39%). 

Planners rated compliance related issues (46%), client education (33%), and regulatory uncertainty (30%) as the biggest issues they faced. 

Over half (53%) of SMSF planners’ client base are in the pension phase. 




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The best advice most SMSF trustees can get is...

"Wind up your SMSF. SMSFs are unnecessarily complicated and expensive for your requirements. You really don't need one".

Unfortunately this is advice that trustees don't want to hear, and are unlikely to pay for.

I had a conversation with a junior accountant recently who was banging on about how she is so much more qualified and trusted and she is angry that she can't give advice these people.

The accountants still think they are the one and only holy grail in this area, if this is what they are still telling their clients then no wonder the numbers in this article are like they are.

When i suggested that most SMSF's can be done simpler and cheaper elsewhere and that she should look at BID anbd explain other options to a client she nearly fainted and said that was too much hard work and I don't get paid for that. I said that I do get paid for that if the client wants the best advice and left.

Maybe the government should introduce BID to accounting.

Accountants keep banging on about how "trusted" they are. But being trusted is not the same as being competent. An incompetent or conflicted person who is trusted can do enormous damage.

About 90% of SMSFs in Australia are completely unnecessary. Their members would be much better off in a public offer fund. How did this SMSF proliferation happen? By recommendations from "trusted" accountants who have little training in investments and a massive conflict of interest.

BID should be required for the sale of every financial asset/insurance policy/investment regardless of who is selling it. But unfortunately, only financial advisers (the self employed ones being the only group who ever acted in the best intertests of customers in the first place) are the only ones who have to comply with this regulation which was forced onto us due to the vertically alligned banks habbitually ripping customers off and management blaming advisers who were forced to sell inferior bank products to make their unrealistic targets in order to keep their jobs.

ok, so I am only going to say this one more time about accountants' qualifications. because I am sick to death. you can also please print copy and paste it and send you to your accountant colleagues

1. the term "accountant" is not a legally protected term there is only reference to a "qualified accountant" A qualified accountant is defined in s88B of the Corporations Act as a person meeting the criteria in a class declaration made by ASIC under class order [CO 01/1256]

2. there are three main accounting bodies recognized in Australian legislation: CAANZ/CPA/IPA

3. members of CA ANZ complete a graduate diploma with 5 units at AQF 8

4. Members of CPAA complete a 6 unit internal course, delivered by Deakin Uni (i believe) at a "graduate-level" not rated under the AQF framework. some of you who are members of the FPA who completed the CFP(r) will be acutely familiar with non-rated courses under the AQF and their actual equivalency

5. Members of IPA complete a Masters Degree currently an MBA AQF 9 delivered through Deakin, if they complete stage 1 (6 subjects) and 2 (6 subjects) of their program, in the past, they completed an M.Com (8 subjects) at AQF 9 delivered through UNE

6. all existing financial planners have to have a graduate diploma or higher at AQF 8 or 9 and pass a national exam

so it is false for any accountant, other than members of the IPA who have completed a master's degree at AQF9 (if you have also not completed a masters degree) to say they are more academically qualified than a financial planner

I hope this helps you to defend yourself and our profession in your future discussions with accountants. as this is all based on qualified fact which can be independently verified and not some junior accountants ill-informed opinion

knowledge is power. thank you, sir or madam. next time I meet an accountant, I will treat them with the contempt they deserve given I have a master's degree and most of them will not.

I am a financial planner who completed the CFP program which is also written at a "post-graduate level" and passed the 5 subjects and exam. I can't argue with the irrefutable evidence you present in your post above. I have researched and can confirm your assertions are true and correct.

I cannot say anything about the IPA program because it is one level higher than my qualification (AQF8) at AQF 9, but where I would tend to disagree with you is in relation to your comments in 4. specifically, with regards to the standing of the CFP program relative to the CA or CPA qualifications which are written at similar levels.

The CA and CPA programs only require 50% to pass each subject.

while the CFP program requires a minimum of 70% in CFP 1-4 and 75% in CFPC to pass. The CFP also requires a 4-hour multiple-choice exam to be passed, that too has a minimum pass mark of 70%. see page 29 of the CFP Handbook https://fpa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CFP-Program-Handbook-2020.pdf

Like you, I also like to base my opinions on objectively verifiable evidence and the standards-setting statutory authority (FASEA) has given 2 exemptions for my CFP while a CA and CPA were only given 1 each. see https://www.fasea.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FASEAs-Approved-Reco...

therefore, on the basis of the undeniable facts outlined above, my CFP qualification is more rigorous and superior to the CA or CPA qualification to practice as a financial planner, I concede defeat to the IPA Masters grads and congratulate them on their esteemed qualification.

In financial planning, I am banging not some unqualified junior accountant.

Another mad planner you are welcome to copy and use it as your own.

were you close to her? did you smell alcohol on her breath? she must have been DRUNK when she spoke about being more qualified.

in the 21 years of practice, the most incompetent "professional" I have met, and also the most complained about have been accountants.

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