Clamp down on rogue SMSF advisers: Chan & Naylor

Australian Securities and Investments Commission needs to clamp down on rogue self-managed super fund (SMSF) advisers, according to wealth advisory group Chan & Naylor.

Its director of financial planning, David Hasib, says the relatively new nature of SMSF products means regulation is lagging behind.

“Australia’s financial landscape has grown dramatically in its diversity and complexity over the years, yet education requirements for advisers have lagged,” says Hasib.

“It should not be acceptable to play the role of financial adviser in the general sense – the industry is evolving so quickly that it requires specialised advisers that are up to date and add real long-term value to clients.”

He says a lack of regulation means anyone can be an SMSF adviser and many don’t advise clients of potential pitfalls of SMSFs.

“A quick internet search will reveal the growing numbers of online spruikers, bearing no relevant qualifications at all, who are cashing in on the new SMSF market,” says Hasib.

“The problem is detrimental to those on the receiving end of uninformed advice, as well as the reputation and integrity of an otherwise healthy industry which will find itself tarred with the same brush.”

He recommends minimum qualification levels and increased professional development hours with penalties for those operate without them.

Andrea Slattery, CEO at SPAA, the peak body for SMSF advisers, says trustees should always seek out SPAA members for advice.

"There are so many people getting into the industry who see it as an opportunity and there's a need for trustees to seek out genuine specialists and SPAA members are the only ones who have undergone rigorous training," Slattery says.

Slattery says ASIC and the ATO are increasingly moving towards regulation for SMSF advisers.

"We believe there is a need for people to do more to work towards accreditation and to get recognition. The ATO have already increased their powers and will be increasing their further to regulate the sector."

"Right now there are people that are providing services in Australia that are not specialists and may not be competent with the complex rules around advice advice in SMSF and what we're trying to do is build integrity in the industry and advise trustees to use a specialist adviser."

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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