Argyle Lawyers predicts SMSF litigation to increase

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Andrea Slattery image

Andrea Slattery

Litigation claims in the superannuation industry are increasing, and it’s a trend that’s unlikely to change.

Peter Bobbin, Managing Principal, Argyle Lawyers, told the SMSF Association State Technical Conferences that the rise in litigation was simply mirroring the growth of superannuation, which now had about $2 trillion in FUM.

“The evidence is everywhere, whether it be the number of law firms advertising their expertise in this area, discussion on talk-back radio, conference topics, or the number of lawyers now working in this legal space.

“The simple fact is that as funds under management increase and as the legislation around it becomes more complex, then the need to get legal resolutions over disputes will simply grow exponentially.

“In particular, the very nature of the SMSF sector will result in more litigation as trustees and members of funds enter into dispute about the benefits of their SMSF. For both trustees and members, it is critical they understand the importance of knowing their legal rights.”

Bobbin told the Technical Conferences that one thing we know about superannuation was that governments were continually changing the system.

“We know people are tired of changes in superannuation. That shows up in every survey. But governments still can’t help themselves and continue to change the system.

“What this means is that the system appears to become more complex, and with that comes a fear of super being unstable and this promotes litigation. What is needed is a long period of stability, no more government legislation changes so that they can settle upon legal resolutions that will restore confidence.”

The SMSF Association CEO/Managing Director Andrea Slattery said Bobbin’s comment about changes to the system, and the public unease this created, was a point well made.

“The Association has constantly been telling all governments that there needs to be certainty around superannuation, and that every time the system changes it undermines confidence in it.

“It simply reinforces the point that superannuation requires bipartisan political support so that it can achieve its primary goal – helping Australians be self-sufficient in retirement.”

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