The popularity of SMSFs can be attributed to advances and improvements in automation and information exchange across the sector, Peter Hilditch, national distribution manager at Superfund Wholesale told SMSF Adviser.
“Prior to the 1990s, financial products and services were typically accessed from large institutions, banks and life insurance companies”, said Mr Hilditch.
“Due to technological advances, improvements in process and access to information, other financial product providers have entered the marketplace. Investors can now access a wide range of investment options across a global marketplace at the click of a button,” he said.
“As a result of the increased competition brought about by these changes, there is greater choice and lower costs for individuals looking to invest, particularly when using an SMSF.”
In addition, the emergence of SMSF administration systems in recent years has “dramatically increased” administrator capabilities, Mr Hilditch said.
“As a result of the increased efficiency, the cost of service has fallen dramatically so that it is no longer viable, from a service level and cost perspective, for the small local accountant to provide the service of SMSF administration,” he said.
“Technology and specialist services at lower prices have meant that trustees and advisers are increasingly bypassing the middleman, the traditional SMSF supplier, the local accountant.”
Jo Heighway, chief executive at Engage Super Audits, added that technology advances are also assisting practitioners to expand their client base.
“I think the number of SMSF providers that are using social media to expand their client bases has made a big difference,” Ms Heighway said.
“Also the fact that you can just go online and basically just order an SMSF and have it up and running almost immediately, it just makes it so much more accessible.”