SMSF trustees ‘spooked’ by large-scale advice scandals

SMSF trustees are increasingly turning away from financial advice and devising their own investment strategies, “in large part” as a result of distrust and scandals in the financial advice sector, one advocacy group has found.

Taxpayers Australia’s members, who include tax practitioners and superannuation professionals, have found that their clients are reluctant to seek financial advice, and are increasingly opting to “go it alone” with their financial decisions, Taxpayers Australia’s Reece Agland told SMSF Adviser.

Mr Agland cited the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal as a key contributor to trustees changing their attitudes.

In addition, some trustees have found they are being pushed into life insurance products because financial planners can still receive commissions from these products post-FOFA, Mr Agland said.

The issue is purely related to financial planners, Mr Agland said, with accountants still holding the trusted relationship with their trustee clients – in part due to the transparency of their fees.

“In the long term, it’s a problem. If [trustees] are just going to stick to what they know they might miss out on opportunities that a financial planner can tell them about,” Mr Agland said.

“That’s the risk, that they’ll just keep to simple products which will give decent returns but not really accelerate their super as much as they could.

“This could be to the long-term performance detriment of many SMSFs.”

Also speaking to SMSF Adviser, Quantum Financial principal Tim Mackay said SMSF trustees are specifically getting “spooked” on advice from institutions that have been implicated in recent financial advice scandals.

Quantum Financial, which is independently owned, has experienced higher demand as a result, Mr Mackay said.

“A fair few of those clients are refugees fleeing from those financial institutions that have been implicated,” Mr Mackay said.

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