Adviser calls for greater SMSF industry collaboration

Accountants and advisers should collaborate more closely to achieve the best client outcomes, as SMSF practitioners may risk missing important details by taking on both roles, says one practice principal.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Sydney Financial Planning practice principal William Bracey said that given the complexity of both the financial advice and accounting sides of providing SMSF services, trying to combine the two may not lead to the best result for SMSF clients.

“For [SMSF practitioners] trying to be both accountants and financial planners, well good luck to them, because it’s such a huge area,” said Mr Bracey.

“It’s similar to me saying I’m going to be a doctor and I’m going to be a lawyer. If I’m a super brain I could do it, but realistically, how much am I missing out on every week unless I’m going to spend 30 hours a week studying – they’re kidding themselves, I think.”

Mr Bracey said accountants are now a lot more open to the idea of working with advisers and realise “it’s a minefield out there”.

“I really feel accountants have the best interests of their clients at heart,” he said.

“Generally, all the accountants I’ve ever met and spoken to I’ve been very impressed by. They have the same ethics as financial advisers and just want the best thing for their client.”

Mr Bracey also stressed the importance of SMSF practitioners working with lawyers to develop an appropriate estate plan for SMSF clients.

“The key is to work with a firm of solicitors or lawyers that you work regularly with and [to] whom you can articulate clearly what the client really needs,” he said.

“Generally speaking, lawyers won’t take the time to understand the financial side, so the structures they recommend may not be appropriate, but then again the structures that we recommend may not be appropriate from a legal point of view, so if you work together you get the perfect outcome.”

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