Fee and technology pressures are continuing to disrupt and diminish the role of accountants in the SMSF establishment and maintenance process, research from Investment Trends has suggested.
Speaking at the 8th Annual SMSF Adviser Strategy Day in Sydney last week, Investment Trends senior analyst Recep III Peker said the media and word of mouth are playing a “significantly greater” role in encouraging investors to set up an SMSF rather than take professional advice.
“We ask accountants each year, ‘Was it your idea or the client’s idea to set up an SMSF?’ and what we find more each year is that the answer is, ‘It was my client’s idea,’” Mr Peker said.
Mr Peker also said that prospective trustees are increasingly using online providers to establish their SMSF rather than an accountant for reasons that include price and convenience.
“These online admin solutions are actually big disruptors for the accounting space. And what we find is that a lot of accountants haven’t embraced these into their businesses yet,” Mr Peker said.
One of the biggest challenges accountants are citing is keeping their fees competitive in the SMSF sector, he continued.
However, he pointed to potential new revenue streams, with half of trustees who have an accountant for tax service purposes saying they would use that accountant for financial planning advice
“The average trustee is willing to pay $2,500 per annum to meet all their financial advice needs,” Mr Peker said.
“This might not sound like much, but what we tend to is whatever [trustees] say the average they’re willing to pay is, in reality once they see a financial adviser and are sold on the value proposition they pay a lot more.
“The average Aussie who has advice needs will only pay $600 for financial advice. This is nearly five times as much. So, SMSF trustees are a lot more willing to pay for advice.”
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