Specialist advisers critical in preventing scams

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) specialist advisers may play a critical role in assisting investors how to avoid cybercrime and investment scams, according to the SMSF Association.

In 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that investment scams totalled $328 million, or 38% of the total $851 million lost to scams in Australia in that year, and, according to SMSF Association’s chief executive John Maroney, this was of particular concern in SMSF sector as SMSF trustees and self-directed investors could be financially crippled by these scams.

“The Association, in partnership with the regulators, has an important role to play in protecting our SMSF community,” he said.

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“Scams Awareness Week, which launches today, is an excellent time to remind SMSF members that there are extremely sophisticated scams circulating, and that their retirement savings are an obvious target.”

He added that self-directed investors needed to be particularly alert to any offer, especially if there was the promise of higher-than-normal returns on offer.

“I can attest from personal experience just how sophisticated these scams can be when I was approached by ‘ASAL Group’ who claimed to be specialists in assisting people manage their SMSFs.

“It was a very slick approach. But the fact they claimed to be a subsidiary of a major financial institution, yet I had not heard of them, and promised returns of between 18-24% just seemed too good to be true, and were two warning signs for me,” Maroney added.

“We will endeavour to continue educating SMSF professionals, trustees, and self-directed investors on how best to safeguard their retirement savings. There are many different types of scams in circulation and our role is to raise awareness, encourage conversation and promote vigilance to limit those in the SMSF sector from becoming the next scam victim.”

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Most SMSF investors have already been the victim of a scam. The scam of being encouraged to get an expensive, unnecessary, SMSF in the first place. The best way to protect SMSF investors from further scams is to get them out of SMSFs.

Yeh what a scam, my SMSF and the LRBA property that has been a fantastic investment both growth & income wise for last 5 years. Plus ongoing diversification with contributions.
Yeh just terrible :-)
Please go back to your Industry Super and keep crying about no direct property options and no LRBAs.
But hey it must be great when All Industry Fund members pay hidden commissions for no Advice / sales service and Jobs for the Union boys all hanging off Industry Super. Talk about scams.

I'm no fan of union funds I assure you Ben. But most SMSFs are concentrated in cash deposits and large cap Australian shares, their true returns are much lower than most public offer funds with a similar risk profile, and their total fee load is higher.

As for using super to gear up into the most overvalued asset class in the last 20 years, that will always look clever until the property market corrects. But it is very risky and highly concentrated. Particularly when you consider most clients have the majority of their non super wealth in the same narrow, overvalued, asset class. And heaven help anyone that has to come good on the personal guarantee to their LRBA. (Not to mention the divine salvation needed for the adviser who recommended it).

Just because union funds have a lot of faults, doesn't make doing the extreme opposite right. There is a sensible middle path.

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