SPAA supports Jeremy Cooper’s comments on high competencies and quality investors in SMSF sector


SPAA has pushed for higher standards of SMSF advice and audit through the Cooper Review and Future of Financial Advice Reform (FoFA) legislative process and has contributed to trustee education.

The Self-Managed Super Fund Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) has welcomed comments in the media this week by Cooper Panel chairman Jeremy Cooper about the high level of competency and financial expertise of SMSF trustees, but has questioned speculation about whether trustee quality could be eroded by future sector growth.

The final Cooper panel report, released by Jeremy Cooper in July called the $390 billion SMSF sector, the largest by assets in the $1.2 trillion super system, “well functioning and successful”. The SMSF sector is
home to 428,000 funds and 815,000 trustees with an average member balance of $480,000.

“We agree with Jeremy Cooper, chairman of the Cooper Panel, that the SMSF sector is successful due to the high level of competency and financial expertise of those who set them up and we intend to see that
standard increased through pushing for higher standards for advisers, while expanding educational opportunities for trustees,” said Sharyn Long, chairman of SPAA.

“SPAA is supportive of the Cooper Review’s recommendations for higher competencies for SMSF auditors and advisers and has advocated for this through our contribution to the Cooper Review process and the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reform process,” said Ms Long.

She said SPAA has witnessed growing numbers of advisers applying for and completing accreditation as either a SPAA Specialist Adviser or a SPAA Specialist Auditor.

On the SMSF trustee front, Ms Long said SPAA, in an industry first, had recently launched an SMSF trustee education curriculum guide to encourage education providers and industry practitioners to create and provide SMSF trustee training.

“We believe that as the numbers of funds and member balances grow, more and more trustees will seek to educate themselves about their responsibilities and obligations, many of them encouraged by their advisers,” Ms Long said.

Ms Long said SPAA would continue to work closely with regulator, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on issues affecting the SMSF sector and with the APRA regulated fund sector on industry matters.

“SPAA supports comments made by Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten and company director and former Olympics luminary, Rod McGeoch, at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia conference this week, that fund sectors should work together to improve the industry and the outcomes for fund members,” Ms Long said.

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