Thought leadership panel mulls SMSF innovation and intervention

SMSF Association Media Release

The SMSF sector will put itself under the microscope at the Thought Leadership Breakfast (TLB) being held on the opening morning of this year’s SMSF Association’s National Conference at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 21-23 February.

An expert four-member panel will examine the challenges facing the sector that include the potential for more regulatory intervention and the growing attention that APRA-regulated funds are giving to the de-accumulation phase of superannuation and longevity risk.

Session moderator Class CEO Tim Steele will be joined by panel members: SMSF Association CEO
Peter Burgess, Heffron Consulting Managing Director Meg Heffron, KPMG Partner Linda Elkins, and
Brighter Super CEO Kate Farrar, as they hold up a mirror to the SMSF sector and examine where its
strengths lie and where it needs to “level up”.

Burgess says the TLB has become an important forum for the sector to take a close look at long-term issues and trends confronting SMSFs and the wider superannuation system and this year’s event will be no different.“Over the past decade, we have witnessed APRA funds experience significant change, often driven by government intervention, such as performance benchmarking, additional statutory reporting, compulsory member communications, and mandatory retirement support.

“This intervention, which has been designed to improve the system by protecting member benefits and enhancing their outcomes, has largely bypassed our sector.

“But the question we now ask is this all about to change, and, if so, how?

“In the past we have often been immune to the changes in the broader superannuation sector, but has this been a fool’s paradise that puts our sector at risk of being left behind?

“Do we need to be more open-minded when it comes to regulatory intervention, or do we remain wedded to the status quo that has served us well in the past, understanding that APRA funds are rapidly changing, particular as they focus more on the pension phase, an issue where we have long been the industry leader?”

Burgess says the Association has deliberately sought input into the debate from an APRA fund – a first for the TLB – in the form of the Queensland-based Brighter Super that has more than 250,000
members and about $30 billion in funds under management (FUM).

“Up till now APRA funds have focussed on the accumulation phase. But as they turn their attention to the de-accumulation phase – a space we have traditionally dominated – with the prospect of mandatory retirement support for members looming, will the tables turn?

“Certainly, hearing the views of Brighter Super’s Farrar on these issues should be necessary listening from all conference delegates,” he says.

To view the program and register: SMSF Association National Conference 2024