Can’t be ‘half pregnant’ with SMSFs, says former Macquarie director

One consultant and former Macquarie director said practitioners should be either “in or out” when advising on SMSFs, expressing concerns about the long-term implications of advisers and accountants only advising a handful of SMSF clients.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Sarah Penn, owner of Mayflower Consulting and former division director for SMSFs at Macquarie, said small operators who have fewer than 20 SMSFs are more likely to miss vital steps in setting up or managing an SMSF for the client.

“The main issue with self-managed super is you can’t afford to be half pregnant. It’s a complicated area; you either need to be in it or out. The group that concerns me are the advisers and accountants who only have a handful of SMSF clients,” Ms Penn said.

“What worries me is not that they’re going to recommend anything wrong, but more that the clients are going to miss out on opportunities and that there might be longer term ramifications,” she added.

“[When] SMSFs are set up in the first place, trust deeds especially, they need to be in tip top shape. They need to be set up and personalised for the client’s needs and if you don’t do that, then 30 or 40 years later, when one or more of the clients eventually dies, that’s when it all tends to go pear-shaped. I think when you’re a small operator and you only have 15 or 20 super funds, that’s the sort of thing that you’re likely to miss,” she said.

Ms Penn said those firms that are SMSF specialists, where SMSFs are essentially their “bread and butter”, are generally performing well.

“The issue is really people who’ve only got a handful because I think there’s a higher likelihood that their clients are missing out on high-quality advice,” she said.

promoted stories

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SMSF ADVISER BULLETIN

News

Strategy