John Maroney

The SMSF industry has the chance to get more detail on what the Quality of Advice Review proposals mean for the sector with lead Michelle Levy as one of the keynote speakers at the SMSF Conference next week.

Levy’s final suite of proposals was released last week by the government which will consult on the findings.

Outgoing SMSF Association CEO John Maroney will speak with Levy at the SMSF Association National Conference, alongside AZ NGA founder Paul Barrett and FPA chief executive Sarah Abood. The conference will be held on 20-22 February in Melbourne, which will be covered by Professional Planner.

Maroney tells Professional Planner the association is supportive of what Levy has proposed, but the session will delve into the specific issues related to SMSFs, particularly around what accountants can provide.

“We were looking for a bit more flexibility than what she’s provided in the report but that will be on the topics of discussion,” Maroney says.

“Overall, we prefer to see as many of the recommendations adopted and build on the top of that because the current system is stuffed.”

The financial services industry has widely been supportive of the proposals but consumer groups have expressed cynicism that Levy’s proposed changes will not be in the best interests of the public.

Maroney says the role accountants could play was overlooked in the review, highlighting the fact they are ready made specialists who could help with the advice gap, at least in the SMSF advice sector.

Maroney adds it would be a “shame” to miss the reform opportunity the advice review presents.

“She’s proposing a roadmap for that which would be very beneficial for consumers, advisers and the whole system,” Maroney says.

“We certainly like the idea of having more scoped advice so you can deal with what your clients are looking for rather than have to do the comprehensive approach all the time, so the ability to be more targeted and give advice on a piece-by-piece basis and not being caught up in having to look more broadly.”

Limited licensees were a significant number of the thousands of advisers that have departed the industry since the Hayne royal commission. Maroney does not expect Levy’s proposals to reverse that trend.

“Unless they come up with some mechanism that allows not just people working for banks, insurers and super funds to give some limited advice which is the proposal we put up to her last year,” Maroney says.

“We want people to have specialist education, we want them to be covered by ethics and other things but at the moment it’s looking problematic.”