Many SMSF education events are of variable quality

A plethora of Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) events are being delivered to the Australian financial planning industry but there exist significant variations in their quality, according to a submission to the Financial Systems Inquiry.

The submission, delivered by AMP-owned Cavendish Superannuation, has called for a raising of the minimum education and competency standards for financial advisers delivering SMSF advice.

"We support raising the minimum education and competency standards for advisers who provide SMSF advice. Advisers who provide SMSF advice should be required to undertake specialised SMSF education and training. This would increase the level of professionalism in the SMSF sector leading to increased consumer protection and greater confidence in the SMSF sector," the submission said.

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"There are many providers of education events in the SMSF sector but the absences of specific training standards for SMSF education providers means there is often significant variation in the duration, scope and overall quality of these events," it said.

Further the Cavendish submission said that while the Financial Services Training Package did contain SMSF knowledge requirements, many of those knowledge sets were not specific to SMSFs and were often intermingled with other more generic superannuation knowledge and skill requirements by course providers.

"We support the introduction of specific knowledge sets for SMSF advice and believe professional associations (approved by ASIC) should be responsible for setting and monitoring these standards," the submission said. "We think the approved professional association would be in the best position to determine the competency, training and education requirements for SMSF advice professionals.

"Subject to an appropriate transitional period, Advisers wanting to provide SMSF advice should be required to complete an SMSF course which has been approved or accredited by the relevant professional association," it said.

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