Calls for mandatory trustee education rejected
Calls for trustee education to be made compulsory have been strongly opposed by various SMSF practitioners and industry bodies.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia’s senior manager, technical and policy, Jordan George, reiterated the association is strongly opposed to the notion of compulsory trustee education.
“Leaving aside the self-interest of most of those advocating this position, no evidence is ever cited to show that the lack of a qualification has undermined the SMSF sector. Certainly that’s the conclusion reached by the Cooper Review into superannuation when it handed down its final report in 2010,” he said.
“There is one other interesting aspect to this; its advocates never suggest that non-SMSF investors reach a certain educational standard before they can invest. I wonder why.”
Also speaking to SMSF Adviser, director at Verante Financial Planning Liam Shorte said compulsory education is not necessary, and would add to the cost of running an SMSF.
“However I feel the SMSF industry has stepped up and offers a variety of educational resources to suit different preferences without compulsion. This is a great move and if we can continue these trends then fears of uninformed trustees will subside,” he said.
These comments follow calls from the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) to introduce minimum education requirements for trustees, regardless of the size of their fund.
“A great deal of this education could come from the trustee's adviser in the form of minimal statutory information that would be designed to highlight the risks and responsibilities of being a trustee,” AIST’s executive manager, policy and research, David Haynes, told SMSF Adviser.