I am looking at opening an SMSF but I am not experienced in this area. What should I be careful of when approaching a Financial Planner (ie. questions I should ask), amid the media coverage of the Royal Commission?
I am not interested in taking on products that the Financial Planner might offer. I want financial investment advice and I also want the Financial Planner to manage the SMSF as I have compliance concerns if I were to do it, myself. Thank you in advance.
Great financial planners will make you a lot of money and save you a lot of money. And poor ones can do the opposite.
Understanding the regulations involved in SMSF and the cost of maintaining compliance is critical. If you have a decent amount ( probably over $250k) to put into the fund then it can be a good vehicle but make sure you have a clear strategy in place first. This is LAW!
Take your time and think through your options
Best of luck
First thing you need to be addressing (and what I would want to know if I was advising you) with the Finacial Adviser is why you want an SMSF in the first place?
They can be very powerful structires if used correctly. They can also be a huge headache and very costly expense if not.
First and for most a financial adviser’s job is to work through, with you, what your priorities are then help you map out some way of achieving them. If an SMSF in some way helps this then great, if it adds unnecessary complexity then maybe some other super fund may be a better option for you.
Once the strategy piece has been taken care of then it turns to investments. Some financial advisers will do both the strategy & the investments, some will only do one part.
Paying for invest and compliance work won’t likely be cheap but you need to ask what they charge.
Just have a conversation with a few, you’ll soon realise who you do and don’t like.
Best of luck.
03 9909 5800
Q1: what are your qualifications?
Q2: how much experience do you have?
Q3: who will ACTUALLY be doing the work? a trainee? an accountant in Malasia? You?
Q4: give me names of three of your clients that are like me (age, income, profile) that I can call to ask how you roll.
Q5: how are your fees structured?
Q6: how many times will I have to come in and annoy you before you get annoyed?
Q7: can I get real-time online access to my super fund? (yes you CAN!!)
Q8: what commissions rebates kickbacks do you get out of this?
Q9: how much do you understand about the actual legislation?
Q10: how many SMSF do you manage?
Q11: who is your SMSF auditor of choice?
Q12: can you guarantee me turnaround time and lodgment performance?
Q13: do I get a quarterly meeting with you to discuss my investment performance and opportunities/risks?
best person you can probably look for is a planner who is ALSO or closely attached to a good CA or CPA firm. It is a constant source of irritation to me that the number of people who purport to know what they are on about is a lot higher than the number of people who actually DO know what they are on about.
good luck and ask lots of questions!!
PS, you can expect to pay a premium for someone with experience, qualifications and the ability to provide you sound advice. They are not cheap, and are worth every cent!!!
If you have a good and trusted accountant, they may be able to steer you to the right planner for your interests.
A SMSF can be great in the right circumstances, and the compliance isn't that hard - there are just key issues to understand.
Work with your accountant and planner to make sure it is right for you and consider your investment strategy - how you want to invest. While you can leave some level of control with the planner, you still need to be involved and understand the risks involved in each investment option.
Thank you for your great comments and suggestions. I will shop around and ask the questions you have suggested - thank you very much James and Brendan. I also think I will need to do some study myself to understnad the key issues of compliance. I am a bit more confident now that Todd mentioned that hard to understand. I think I can now move forward a step at a time. Best wishes Julie