Make trustee education mandatory, says lawyer

Education should be a requirement for superannuants who are establishing and managing an SMSF, according to one SMSF lawyer.

Those who are in a position of responsibility in a highly-regulated environment should be receiving regular training, managing director at SMSF Law and Equity Protect Shane Ellis told SMSF Adviser.

“You don’t want to go blindly into an SMSF without fully understanding the responsibilities that are involved and [should be] working with competent professionals in support of what’s taking place,” Mr Ellis said.

However, Mr Ellis stressed he is “not an advocate” of other barriers to SMSF entry, including minimum account balances.

“I would never not encourage someone to go into self-managed super, because it just does so much more than industry or retail funds,” he added.

The comments follow an Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) recommendation that SMSF trustees should be required to have accredited training prior to establishing an SMSF.

“Our key point is that SMSF trustees should undertake structured education on their legal responsibilities and obligations when commencing their SMSF,” AIST chief executive officer Tom Garcia previously told SMSF Adviser.

“We also recommend that they engage in ongoing accredited training to maintain their knowledge. While it’s possible to outsource much of the work involved in running a self-managed super product, ultimately the duties of being a trustee remain and tax penalties apply,” Mr Garcia said.

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