Formalising Super Advice Delivery: Act now so you’re not caught out later

 

The recent superannuation reforms are far-reaching, complex and relevant for all members of a super fund, whether that is an industry fund, retail fund or your own self-managed superannuation fund. It’s clear that making the most of ‘existing’ legislation in consideration of the introduction of the ‘new’ legislation requires advice. And, therein lies an important issue. There is potential for those clients who have previously relied upon their accountant to provide superannuation and SMSF advice to be caught-out. This is because the rules around the delivery of advice have changed. Read on to find out what you need to know so that you receive the timely advice you need.

To be clear, q4 financial’s SMSF accounting services which include tax returns, administration of the fund and any factual information, will continue unaffected. However, when it comes to advice on super including levels of contributions or starting a pension – which may be broadly defined as instructions and information specific to your individual needs – there are new rules that require action by both you and your accountant.

The new licensing requirement is part of the Government’s FOFA (Future of Financial Advice) reforms that aim to protect Australians seeking financial advice. The reforms have removed what was previously known as an ‘accountants exemption’ and moving forward, apart from offering purely factual information we, along with all accountants in Australia, may only provide advice in accordance with new laws.

This includes conducting a thorough needs assessment, a Statement of Advice (SOA) specific to those needs and you must also be in receipt of a document called a Financial Services Guide (FSG).

This formalisation of the advice delivery process removes the opportunity for you to receive spontaneous advice. That is, it is no longer permissible for your accountant to give advice in a casual manner, such as over the phone or during an informal conversation. Put simply, without the appropriate documentation in place, it is illegal for us to provide the superannuation, SMSF or financial planning advice you need.

As authorised representatives of Count Financial, q4 financial is appropriately licensed and compliant with the advice legislation. However, that’s just half of the equation. In order to receive advice from us, it is necessary for you to participate in formalising arrangements so that you may receive advice for matters relating to pensions, contributions and strategies for holding properties inside your SMSF.

Your next steps…
There is a lot going on, what with changes to super contribution rules as well as to the delivery of super and SMSF advice as outlined here. If you require advice from your q4 accountant, you will need to implement the required documentation. To do this, you will also need to take into account the lead time necessary for preparing your SOA, while also allowing sufficient time for q4 financial to provide the high calibre advice you require from us so that it may be implemented to make the most of a rapidly closing window of opportunity prior to June 30. It is for this reason that we implore you take action now.

Should you have any questions about how the changes to super and SMSF advice delivery affect you, please contact me or your accountant at q4 financial on (07) 3171 4255 or by emailing Kelly Hill at kelly@q4financial.com.au

q4 financial Pty Ltd ABN 99 152 799 927 is an Authorised Representative of Count Financial Limited. ‘Count’ and Count Wealth Accountants® are trading names of Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625 Australian Financial Services Licence Holder Number 22723,  a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Count is a Professional Partner of the Financial Planning Association of Australia Limited. Count advisers are authorised representatives of Count. www.count.com.au

General advice warning:  The advice provided is general advice only as, in preparing it we did not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before making an investment decision on the basis of this advice, you should consider how appropriate the advice is to your particular investment needs, and objectives. You should also consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision relating to a financial product.