Unmet SMSF advice needs at record highs

A recent Investment Trends survey has estimated that more than 250,000 SMSFs have unmet advice needs they’re willing to pay for, pointing to a significant opportunity for professionals looking to grow in this space. 

Investment Trends head of research, wealth management Recep III Peker says there is a growing opportunity for everyone in the SMSF space to provide more assistance to SMSF trustees, based on data from the Investment Trends March 2016 SMSF: Investor Report

“[SMSF trustees] are spending more time on average running their SMSF compared to just a couple of years ago,” he told SMSF Adviser.

Mr Peker said the outcome of this is that their openness to receiving help and financial advice is at the highest level Investment Trends has ever seen.

“For example, [there are] 255,000 SMSFs who say they have unmet advice gaps, which they’re willing to pay for, and if you compare that with previous years you find that it’s gone up from 212,000 in 2015 and it was 184,000 in 2011,” he said.

Mr Peker said the 255,000 figure represents almost half of SMSFs.

“This is a really big opportunity for accountants especially, because if you ask trustees who they’re most likely to turn to or where they’re going to turn to get help for these advice gaps, the number one place they say is, ‘I would turn to my accountant’.”

Mr Peker said the survey found that 133,000 SMSF trustees with unmet advice needs would approach an accountant.

The biggest opportunities lay in retirement strategies, investment advice, and pension and tax minimisation, as well as borrowing and insurance.

“In each of these areas, accountants feature very prominently in terms of who they would turn to and this is a bit of a challenge for accountants because a lot of these areas they don’t traditionally provide advice on to their clients,” Mr Peker said.

“So they have, for example, big opportunities for engaging clients with their retirement strategies and also their investment advice needs, and the piece that’s really grown in demand over the past year is investment advice.”

Given that SMSFs are predominantly about pensions and retirement, retirement strategies feature prominently as an advice gap.

“For about 146,000 SMSFs, that’s what their biggest advice gap relates to,” Mr Peker said.

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