Kate Farrar (left), Linda Elkins and Meg Heffron

Better access to advice via super funds may help address the advice gap for lower balance clients, but whether this will trickle out to the SMSF sector over time is still unknown, delegates to the SMSF Association National Conference heard.

The government response to the Quality of Advice Review will open the door for super funds to give more advice with the specific parameters yet to be defined.

In a discussion during the Thought Leadership Breakfast to kick off the national conference last Wednesday morning in Brisbane, the panel discussed the benefits of increased access to advice and how this would transition over time from simple advice to low balance clients to more complex needs handled by holistic advisers.

But when asked by Heffron managing director Meg Heffron whether APRA-fund advisers would move members to SMSFs, KPGM partner Linda Elkins said it wouldn’t be the case.

“No, what I do see is… the Quality of Advice Review legislation is not with us yet so we’re speculating but that wouldn’t be the way,” Elkins said.

“I wouldn’t imagine the boundaries of that kind of advice wouldn’t include giving that advice, but advisers associated with an APRA-regulated fund, independent advisers increasingly working with the members of super funds, absolutely would give that advice if that is in the best interests of the members.

“That could go both ways because some people who might be in an SMSF now might think I prefer an APRA-regulated fund or vice versa. If we get the participation level to rise everybody wins.”

‘Gradient’ of advice

Elkins, formerly CFS executive general manager before her role at KPMG, said super fund call operators are facing the same issues as accounts where they are “terrified to answer the question that might be advice when it’s just a simple question”.

“What you’re going to see is this gradient of advice,” Elkins said.