Where does the solution to SoAs lie?

FPA SMSF SOA advice AFA

27 April 2022
| By Liam Cormican |
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The solution to the complexity and time-consuming problem of Statements of Advice (SoA) lies somewhere between a one-page letter, as prescribed for accountants, and SoAs as they exist today, according to a panel.

Speaking at the SMSF Association conference in Adelaide, Marisa Broome, chair of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), said the main aim was for clients to understand their financial advice arrangements, something she said she could achieve without a 100-page SoA.

“There's got to be something in the middle that really makes that informed consent concept easily met,” she said.

Broome said the solution may come from technology, plugging Ben Marshan, FPA head of policy, strategy and innovation, and his work on a digital SoA system for the FPA.

Association of Financial Advisers chief executive, Phil Anderson, said the solution lay in creating a level playing field between disciplines.

“We don't want one set of standards that applies to advisers and another set of standards that will apply in the SMSF space to accountants,” he said.

“I think that the accountants are going to be providing advice on establishment structuring and closing down and maybe a little bit in in the contribution space - I think less so in pensions.

“We got to make sure that we do two things here: one we make sure those basic requirements are in place and the second thing is… we got to move away from [100-page SoAs].”

Speaking from a client perspective, SMSF Association chief executive, John Maroney, said he found far more value from direct advice and investment related correspondences with his adviser rather than the 100-page SoA he was handed.

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