Q: If there was one thing you could change about the Self-Managed Super Fund sector at the moment, what would it be?
A: The one thing that I would seek to change is the area of trustee education. The lack of understanding of the super rules and regulations for SMSF trustees and how things work can be very concerning. Many trustees don’t understand or know their obligations, and when it comes time for the annual accounts and audit to be completed, is when these issues are uncovered.
As a professional services firm and a SMSF specialist adviser we take trustee education seriously. Before a client commences their fund, we often recommend they complete a trustee education course. This free course is offered by many different industry organisations and it will allow prospective trustees to grasp the basics which are often overlooked.
Being proactive about your ongoing education and understanding your role as a trustee is important. You can also subscribe to different websites such as the Trustee Knowledge Centre Login offered by the SMSF Associations (click here). Our clients who have a SMSF in place receive this as a complimentary membership along with the ongoing compliance support from our firm.
As a SMSF specialist, a large amount of our time is spent educating clients about their role and responsibilities. Spending time on compliance matters and being engaged by new clients to address matters that have been reported to the Australian Taxation Office by the auditor of their fund does keep our firm busy.
Even though the role of a trustee becomes easier as time progresses, it is essential to realise the education uplift when the fund is established and over the following years will require a level of persistence and commitment. Furthermore, a change in the rules and regulations governing superannuation will require you to understand how this will impact your fund. Working with a team of professionals (such as an accountant, auditor, solicitor and financial adviser) to assist you is certainly recommended to run a compliant and successful fund.
So what is next?
For WealthPartners, we aim to become champions of trustee education and continue to deliver this message as part of our everyday conversations with existing and prospective clients.