The Hon Sir Anthony Mason, Patron – Opening Address, SMSF Association 2017 National Conference

SMSF Association National Conference 2017 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Patron of the SMSF Association for the past 10 years, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 2017 National Conference. As the SMSF Association is a leader in professionalism in this field, it is both exciting and profound to see the growth of those people totally committing to the SMSF profession.

Three years ago, in my opening remarks to the conference, I commented that the law typically changes incrementally – not radically. But superannuation is the exception to this generalisation; governments are constantly changing the rules. If I ever doubted this proposition, 2016 laid it to rest. As you would have all observed, superannuation underwent enormous change again in 2016, starting with the May Budget and ending when the legislation passed the Parliament in November.

Of course, the legislation becoming law is just the beginning of the process. You, the SMSF specialists, will now have to implement these changes in the months and years ahead in the best interests of your clients.

Which brings me to the point I want to make. In 2014, there was speculation the “best interests’ duty” would be wound back. The point I forcibly made then was that it would be wrong to think that an advisor was under no duty to act in the best interests of the client. Common law imposes this duty on an advisor.

Everything I have observed about your industry and profession since reinforces my belief that the SMSF specialist is extremely conscious of the need to act in his or her client’s best interests. It is a key reason you are at this conference – to enhance your skills so as to better service your clients.

The emergence of the SMSF Profession has been strongly supported and directed by your Association. In this vein, it lent its wholehearted support to the Government’s decision, announced last October, to legislate to improve the professional standards of financial advisors.

Let me conclude by saying that your industry’s future lies in providing the highest quality advice. It’s what your clients value, and, at a time of constant change, so badly need.

Enjoy the conference. I am sure it will prove both educational and pleasurable.

The Hon Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM, Patron,
SMSF Association