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Sub-$200,000 SMSFs attract ASIC attention

By Staff Reporter
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New guidance on SMSFs released by ASIC aims to ensure investors receive advice that's in their best financial interests.

The two new information sheets discuss the cost-effectiveness of an SMSF, “making clear” ASIC's view that an SMSF with a starting balance of $200,000 or below is unlikely to be in the client’s best interests.

ASIC warned that advice to set up an SMSF with a balance of less than $200,000 is more likely to be scrutinised under its surveillance regime.

ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell noted that setting up an SMSF is a significant financial step for investors and many factors needed to be considered.

“It is therefore important that consumers receive good-quality advice that will assist them in making informed decisions about their retirement savings,” Mr Kell said.

The information sheets specify the types of risks and costs an adviser should consider, discuss and disclose to clients when providing advice on setting up, or switching to, an SMSF.

“ASIC wants to ensure that only those investors for whom an SMSF is suitable are advised to establish an SMSF and that our expectations around the standards of advice are clear.

“SMSFs are a key priority for ASIC and we will continue to target inappropriate advice about SMSFs in our surveillance work.”

Peter Burgess, AMP SMSFs head of policy, technical and educational services, said that although many SMSF advisers already disclose risks in their statement of advice, the release of the information sheets “introduces an expected minimum level of SMSF risk disclosure”.

“This will ultimately help to ensure disclosure consistency and a higher standard of professional advice being provided to SMSF clients and prospective SMSF clients,” Mr Burgess said.

 

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