SMSF spruikers under watchdog’s microscope

SMSF spruikers under watchdog’s microscope

Posted on Monday, April 22 2013 at 1:17 PM

Dodgy investment spruikers hoping to cash in on the growing popularity of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) have been put on notice.

The Australian Securities and Investment
Commission (ASIC) last week reiterated its focus on providers of financial
advice, particularly when it comes to DIY-super and property investment.

In releasing its first SMSF Taskforce
report, ASIC gave most providers of advice a tick of approval for compliance
and licensing.

However the body’s findings criticised
“pockets of ‘poor’ advice” from spruikers and a rise in targeted, “aggressive”
advertisements pushing property investments through SMSFs.

“We don’t want to see SMSFs become the
vehicle of choice for property spruikers,” ASIC commissioner Peter Kell says.
“Where we see examples of unlicensed SMSF advice of misleading marketing, we’ll
be taking regulatory action.”

Member group Property Investment
Professionals of Australia (PIPA) welcomed the report, saying it has long held
concerns about the rise of SMSFs.

“Reports at Australian investors suffering
at the hands of unscrupulous marketers are all too common and such cases have
the potential to explode as interest in property investment via SMSFs continues
to grow,” PIPA chair Ben Kingsley says.

Some financial planners and accountants
providing SMSF ‘specialised advice’ lack the necessary education and
understanding of property investment, Kingsley believes, making them
inappropriate to be operating in the area.

He believes tighter regulation of the
property investment industry is needed.

“But for the here and now, we’re calling on
financial services professionals to act in the best interests of the customer
and either upskill to provide advice around property investment and refer the
client to someone who’s appropriately accredited.”

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