SMSF administration a ‘zero-sum game’ for small practices

With prices for SMSF administration increasingly competitive, smaller SMSF practices should focus on client relationships rather than providing administration services, according to one practice principal.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Moran Howlett Financial Planning practice principal Cameron Howlett said his practice has avoided offering administration services, believing it is now a heavily commoditised service.

“[SMSF administration] is becoming a zero-sum game; prices are becoming very competitive amongst the SMSF administrators so we didn’t really want to be in that space,” said Mr Howlett.

“We see it as a commodity and we think the value is in sitting down with clients and talking them through what they want to achieve and [how] we can help them get there.”

Mr Howlett said that with software from companies such as Class Super and BGL enabling service providers to administer significant numbers of funds, helping to drive efficiencies, it is becoming increasingly difficult for smaller practices to offer value in this area.

Partnering with an administration service provider, he believes, is therefore a far more effective option for smaller SMSF businesses.

“We feel using an SMSF partnering company has given us the ability to have an SMSF business and give quality advice to our clients on an ongoing basis,” he said.

Mr Howlett said performing administration the traditional way by receiving all the paid work and entering in every single transaction for a smaller practice with 70 or 80 funds is an “administrative nightmare”.

“I don’t know if that sort of a practice, an SMSF admin practice, is going to deliver good outcomes in the future,” he said.

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