Trust is the theme of this year’s SMSFA conference and during her session on the morning of the first day, SMSFA chief executive Andrea Slattery will explore why it is paramount in financial markets.

“Trust is a word that can be explored in a range of ways. A trust is the structure that holds assets on behalf of beneficial owners, with a benefit paid out of that trust at some stage to a beneficiary,” she says.

On the other hand, the superannuation system relies on consumer trust. It’s essential for investors to have faith that their retirement savings will be preserved when they leave work for the last time. This requires trust in markets and investments.

“But what’s interesting is client trust in the advice they receive and in whether the government will allow super to continue to be the primary savings vehicle, which it is now,” Slattery says, indicating this will be a central theme explored in her session.

“People in the SMSF environment can take advantage of substantial opportunities to build their wealth in retirement. As an industry, we need to work together to make sure the sustainability of the system is assured.”

Professionalism is the other theme to be addressed during Slattery’s session. “It’s important for advisers to own their professionalism and it’s important to do this now,” she explains.

This will be the last time she addresses the conference as CEO before stepping down later this year. John Maroney has been appointed to the role, effective in May.

“He’s an eminently qualified person, who has worked across government and in private practice,” Slattery says. “He has previously led two associations and has also been a statutory regulator. He has enormous experience, and he’s a very good successor.”

Slattery has plans to remain close to the SMSF sector after stepping down as CEO.

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