The head of growth at one of the most popular SMSF and portfolio management software, Class, says financial advisers are missing the opportunity to help younger Australians build their wealth earlier.

Jo Hurley, who was appointed to the general manager of growth at Class in August, says departing traditional super funds to go it alone with a SMSF could transform the wealth trajectory of young people if implemented earlier in their working lives.

She is buoyed by the fact that there has been increasing visibility of the SMSF structure, with one in three SMSFs established in the past year have been set up by investors under the age of 45. But Hurley says there’s a greater opportunity for more advisors to be promoting SMSFs to younger Australians as a wealth tool.

Class, which is used by more than 3,500 finance firms to drive business automation and bolster profitability, helps finance professionals reduce manual processes while secure lodgement has been inbuilt to add security for tax agents.

The wealth accounting and compliance software is a subsidiary of HUB24, which provides integrated platforms, technology and data solutions for the finance sector.

“The Hub24 acquisition of Class has seen a further shift of focus toward SMSFs. I’m coming into the growth role with a strong level of passion and experience in SMSFs, which is strong sign that there are some great plans to ensure that SMSFs will be the core of our business moving forward,” Hurley, based in Palm Beach, Queensland, tells Professional Planner.

The technology entrepreneur and business coach and adviser is best known for her success as a CEO and founder of SMSF audit business Engage.

From a start-up to a highly publicised sale to Deloitte in 2015, Hurley has forged a reputation for being a high performance business leader with technology and automation a key part of her remit. It was in this role that she was named Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year.

Hurley has long been a fan of SMSFs, starting a multi-generational SMSF with her parents and then-husband when she was just 23 in a bid to utilise her investment knowledge to navigate her parents toward retirement.

“I was working in the finance industry at the time, and there was a lot of uncertainty in the market around the Global Financial Crisis,” Hurley says.

“At the time, my parents were at a critical time in their retirement planning and the financial markets were unpredictable. I knew I could give them a better chance for when they actually retired.”

The first decision she made was to go into commercial property, utilising the tax advantages to give them a strong rate of return and capital growth at a time when the markets weren’t in a good way. Her parents have since retired comfortably and been able to pay off the house.

Hurley has always utilised a specialist financial adviser for her SMSF, and a separate financial adviser for herself personally that understands the strategies available.

By primary school, she had already decided that she wanted to be an accountant. “I always just had a clear sense that that’s what I was going to do.”

After school, she began working with Deloitte in Sydney in the business services space and ended up in a superannuation audit team, which resonated with her.

Hurley has won a number of awards in the SMSE Adviser awards, including being named the 2017 Women in Finance ‘Woman of the Year’. She is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a Fellow SMSF Adviser/Auditor and a Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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