Speaking at the launch of the SMSF101 online course at the American Club in Sydney yesterday, Dunn said a knowledge gap still existed for some SMSF professionals.
“Research shows a lot of people offering SMSF advice services probably aren’t sufficiently knowledgeable, and this is backed up by the findings of the Cooper Review,” he said.
“Across the board there is a need for greater competence and specialisation,” he added. “Specialisation is the future.”
Offering the example of a GP referring patients to medical specialists, Dunn said he envisaged a future where advisers would refer clients to certified specialists.
Responding to Dunn’s comments, the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) – which recently awarded the SMSF101 course an official 49 CPD points – said signs of an increasingly specialised SMSF advice profession were already emerging.
“In the last year, applications for SPAA SMSF specialisation overtook applications for general membership for the first time,” said SPAA director of membership and business development Richard Magney, who attended the launch.
Dunn said courses like SMSF101 – which is a joint project of his company, financial education service provider Money 101 and Deakin University’s corporate arm Deakin Prime – would help advisers gain expert knowledge and become equipped to deal with a changing licensing and regulatory regime.
Money 101 chief executive Catherine Birchall told launch attendees that the SMSF101 course had the advantage of being developed in consultation with industry experts such as ombudsmen, senior banking executives, lawyers and industry association heads, with participants being assessed and receiving feedback from these consultants.
“Other courses, which are not developed in consultation with industry experts are just not as relevant to everyday practice,” she said, adding that course participants will be able to cross study with modules from Money101’s financial planning, superannuation and mortgage broking courses.
More broadly, Ms Birchall said the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms and general regulatory climate were making continuing education a higher priority.
“We believe employers in the financial services sector require their employees to be multi-skilled across the industry and regulation-compliant,” she said.