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Trustee competency test labelled ‘elitist’

Reporter
21 November 2013 — 1 minute read

The recent suggestion that SMSF trustees should undergo a competency test has been rejected by the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) as “elitist”.

European financial literacy specialist Robert Holzmann has suggested SMSF trustees should have a “competency test”, noting that approximately 30 per cent of trustees “only have a trade or diploma qualification”.

“It would seem obvious to point out that anyone running a business, including company directors, trustees of trusts and partners in partnerships, do not require mandated training to do their job,” said SPAA’s chief executive Andrea Slattery.

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“Many of them are responsible for unrelated investors’ money and yet there is no requirement they have formal academic qualifications.

“With an SMSF, the trustees are responsible for their own money. Perhaps the simple reason SMSFs have performed on par with the APRA-regulated funds is the simple fact it is their money and they have a greater interest in ensuring it is invested wisely, and therefore more conservatively, to ensure real gains.”

Ms Slattery also noted the previous APRA Trustee Governance Report on the APRA-regulated sector showed approximately 90 per cent of these funds did not require any formal education training to be a trustee, and that 81 per cent did not require any super or investment knowledge to be a trustee.

“Yet APRA fund trustees manage billions of dollars of other people’s savings,” Ms Slattery said.

Trustee competency test labelled ‘elitist’
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