Next week, SMSFA will be doing a soft launch of a trustee ‘knowledge centre’ which will provide resources and educational materials specifically aimed at SMSF trustees.
“There’ll be a number of things on the website, but it’s mainly education and information,” said SMSFA’s chief executive and managing director, Andrea Slattery.
“These people will be able to go to the website and… be involved with us directly,” she said.
SMSFA will also be launching a trustee membership program, which the association’s senior manager of technical and policy, Jordan George, anticipates will be ready by March next year.
The move into the trustee space is part of the evolution of the business, Ms Slattery said, stressing that SMSFA has not strayed from its original purpose and intention in the SMSF sector.
“We’ve always been a voice for the whole sector, for the integrity of the sector, and everything that we’ve ever done has been about building competency, building knowledge, building skills,” Ms Slattery said.
“[This move] hasn’t changed what our advocacy position has been, and hasn’t changed what we’ve always done,” she said.
“Our constitution has been the same since we started."
Similarly, Mr George said that while SMSFA’s focus has traditionally been on SMSF professionals, its broader “mission” has always embraced the entire SMSF sector.
“We represent our members which are professionals, but our overarching goal is to achieve the best outcome that is in the public interest [and] serves our members the best in the long run,” he said.
Sources have suggested to SMSF Adviser that SMSFA’s rebrand from The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) in early February this year was a forerunner of the move into the trustee space.
At the time, when asked if trustees would be targeted by SMSFA subsequently, Ms Slattery said “there is no change to what we’ve always done”.
“We do not have trustee members,” she said in February. “We have always represented the industry, we have always represented every community in the sector at an advocacy level [and] at every level, but our memberships are the professionals.”
Ms Slattery also stressed to SMSF Adviser at the time that the re-brand was not representative of a broader shift in corporate direction.
This week, she emphasised that the re-brand is one of many that the association has had, and that the move into the trustee space cannot be “categorically” linked to it.
“The re-brand was actually something that we did because it was needed. And one of the things about the last re-brand is that it’s the fourth re-brand that we’ve had. We have been evolving the business for a long time,” Ms Slattery said.
“Ever since our inception we’ve been an organisation that’s looked at building the integrity of the SMSF sector and the constituents within it.
“This is an extension of that program where we’re actually now looking at providing even further education and information services to the market, and so we’re just continuing in a slightly different form,” she said.
Ms Slattery is also confident the move will be beneficial to its existing professional membership.
SMSFA will be making trustees aware of how to engage with specialists, but stressed that the choice to engage and find a specialist still lies with the trustee.