John Maroney Speech at the 2017 Technical Day Melbourne Networking Event

SMSF Association Technical Day Series 2017 networking event in Melbourne

Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

It is my pleasure to welcome you this evening. Today we held the third of our technical days following successful events in Sydney and Brisbane earlier this week.

It is my first event in Melbourne since I commenced as CEO of the SMSF Association in May. I had the pleasure to meet a large number of our members in Melbourne at the very successful national conference in February.

Next week we continue with similar technical events in Adelaide and Perth, thereby completing our tour of all of the major mainland capital cities with over 600 participants enhancing their knowledge of the most recent changes to the superannuation framework affecting all 600,000 SMSFs.

A key part of our mission is to improve the integrity and professionalism of all our members, in particular our specialist members who are the most experienced SMSF advisers. This series of technical days are an excellent and intensive opportunity to further that goal.

It also provided me with a wonderful opportunity to return to Melbourne where I have worked often in the earlier stages of my career in other parts of the superannuation system. I have many friends and colleagues in Melbourne and it is a real pleasure tonight to reconnect with all of you in my new role.

Australia has one of the world’s best retirement income systems and all parts of the superannuation sector help achieve security in retirement for millions of Australians. The SMSF sector has grown very strongly while I have been out of the country, and our research shows that this growth has been driven by a strong desire by retirees for greater control of their financial destiny and more flexibility in their superannuation arrangements. SMSFs are not suitable for everyone, but over 1 million Australians have chosen this superannuation option and we expect another million Australians may follow suit over the next decade.

We plan to work closely with all stakeholders and associations representing all parts of the superannuation system, because confidence in the whole system depends on all parts of the system – not just some parts.

Our board has adopted an ambitious and challenging strategy for the next few years and I’m looking forward to working with the directors,  members and staff to deliver all parts of that strategy. Tonight, I will just mention one key part of the strategy where we are making significant progress.

We intend to lead the SMSF sector by ensuring its integrity and robustness and by providing trusted information, education, policy positions and standards. As part of this strategy we intend to establish a global centre of excellence for retirement savings. This will provide a focus for thought leadership and a policy think tank in key growth areas such as retirement income design and drawdowns, behavioural economics and key investment issues such as infrastructure.

We have commenced discussions with several universities including the University of Adelaide, Monash University, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. Our intention is to establish an academic advisory group to help support the development of our global centre of excellence. We expect the academic advisory group to be up and running later this year and for the global centre to commence next year. In addition to the universities I have mentioned, we will be approaching other interested universities and researchers.

I am pleased to announce that Dr Phillip Dolan, currently adjunct professor at Monash University and former dean of the UWA business School and former head of the Macquarie University applied finance centre and actuarial program, has agreed to help establish our academic advisory group. Phillip has an enviable reputation is this field and we are honoured he has decided to accept this role.

This is one exciting development and I expect to announce others in the months and years ahead.

Once again, thank you for joining us this evening. I would now like to invite the Minister for revenue and financial services, the honourable Kelly O’Dwyer, to say a few words on some important issues within her portfolio.

John Maroney, CEO,
SMSF Association