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New SMSF regime spells change for accountants

The roll out of the new SMSF regime will make it mandatory for accountants to refer new clients to a specialist SMSF advisor if you don't have your AFS licence.

Accountants should be aware of the implications of the changes and how it will affect the way they offer SMSF advice to clients. Namely, accountants will no longer be able to provide SMSF advice for clients without an AFS licence and while they will still be the primary contact their clients, the customer will need to seek the support of an AFS licenced specialist financial advisor to manage their SMSF.

Options for accountants under the new regime include:

- Refer all SMSF enquiries to an Authorised Representative (AR)

- Limited AFSL and appoint ARs

- Become an Authorised Representative

- Stop providing SMSF advice

The changes allow accountants to specialise in their specific area and reduce their professional liability, however, it does mean accountants will need to provide referral options for their clients for all SMSF matters or get a licence of their own to work directly with SMSF clients.

So, if you're an accountant in this boat, how can you find a great referral partner for your clients?

If you do wish to refer an SMSF licenced specialists, here are some tips to picking the right one:

Choose a company that fits your business culture - it's important to choose a referral partner that compliments your areas of specialisation and client base. If your client base is more traditional, look for a firm offering this style or service. If you're more of a modern firm, you can find a partner that has a similar culture to your business model.

Find the perfect advisor - take the time to meet and engage with your prospective SMSF advisor and run through their areas of expertise and track record as a financial advisor. If you are going to recommend this person, you should take the time to ask the hard questions and focus on their client care process to ensure they are a good fit for your clients.

Determine the product recommendations - you should take the time to work through any product recommendations your prospective financial advisor will be offering to your clients and focus on finding out all the information possible on performance, liquidity, price and investment philosophy. This will allow you to find out information on their remuneration as well.

While it may be slightly more time consuming, it is a good idea to develop a panel of prospective referral partners for your SMSF clients to offer a variety of options to suit both personalities and also the specialisation the client is looking for.

For more information on seeking SMSF referral partners for accountants without the AFS licence speak with the team from SAAS Audit today. See original article here.

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