SMSFA launches new accreditation program

The SMSF Association has announced the launch of a new accreditation program for SMSF practitioners.

The SMSF Practitioner (SSP) accreditation program is designed to independently validate foundation SMSF knowledge and practical skills, according to an announcement from SMSFA yesterday.

Beginning on August 10, SMSFA says the new program also provides a “stepping stone” to SMSF Specialist Advisor (SSA) accreditation with SMSFA.

The program is open to ‘associate’ SMSFA members who meet the continuing professional development and quality review program requirements.

SMSFA said it had established the program in response to requests from employers in the SMSF sector for a “practical, foundation-based SMSF designation” for their employees.

“It’s an encouraging sign that employers have recognised the need for such a designation that offers an excellent opportunity for those wanting to take the first step in demonstrating their practical knowledge in the SMSF space,” said SMSFA’s head of education services, Liz Ward.

“In the initial stages, there is no formal coursework to attain the SSP. A coursework option will be available early in 2016 as part of an SMSF postgraduate qualification.

“Those that enrol in the new SSP program will have their SMSF competency tested via an online case study-based examination that simulates a client scenario from initial enquiry of SMSF suitability right through to wind-up of the fund.

“The SSP program fits into a structure somewhat akin to what happens in other professions. In medicine, for example, there are GPs and specialists, while in the legal profession you have paralegals and lawyers. From our perspective, those who earn our new SSP designation could be seen as GPs or paralegals, while those with an SSA are a lawyer or medical specialist.”

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