Christine St Anne: Today I am joined by SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia's Andrea Slattery to talk to us about the big issues for 2015. Andrea, lovely to see you again.
Andrea Slattery: Thank you very much for having me here Christine today. It's a pleasure.
St Anne: Firstly Andrea we had the Financial Systems Inquiry this year, any issues that trustees need to be aware of.
Slattery: Well Christine it's been very interesting because the Financial Systems Inquiry actually brought down its major report just recently. And the SMSF trustees should take comfort that this is the third major review in Australia that’s actually given a positive outcome towards the SMSF sector. So as SMSF trustees, I believe that they should be very, very pleased with the fact that there was very little in the Financial Services Inquiry that actually related specifically to the SMSF sector. It means that the review found that the SMSF sector wasn’t one that actually needed to have a lot of tinkering or to have lot of legislative changes made to it.
So from an SMSF trustee point of view moving forward, one of the main issues that came out of it, was an investigation into non-concessional contributions, which are contributions made by Australians in their after-tax dollars. And that’s where they put money away and they save it. So that’s one of the areas that the FSI actually said that they would like to have a look at.
St Anne: And what other issues should trustees be aware of?
Slattery: Well, we at the Self-Managed Super Fund Professionals' Association are very, very keen to help the government and to continue to work with the Financial Services Inquiry and understand that the measurement of super tax concessions need to be revisited. So another major objective to come out of the – major recommendation to come out of the review was that the FSI recommitted to having a major objective of superannuation being for retirement incomes for Australians.
Now that was one of the major messages that we put forward as well. If that is recommitted to, than there needs to genuinely be an understanding by the regulators and legislators and the government on the actual cost to the system of the tax concessions and of super itself. And we believe that with a look at that, that things like the non-concessional contribution issue and the tax changes that were recommended will not actually be required. Because we need Australians in the future to be adequately able to retire with a dignified retirement and they need to be able to have an adequate amount to do that and so that non-concessional is very important not to be fiddled with.
St Anne: And what about SuperStream what issues should trustees need to look at?
Slattery: With SuperStream the SMSF trustees have been very good there is more than 60 per cent that have actually registered with SuperStream. What they need to do is they need to either register online through the ATO or with one of the other providers or go to their accountant and actually register through there or one of the administration service providers. Once they have that registration than they are able to meet the SuperStream requirements. It is something that is very small but it is actually a very practical thing to be able to do. The FSI has actually got another final submission which is due on the 31st of March and you must look at doing the SuperStream quite quickly. So there are a couple of important dates for trustees.
St Anne: Finally Andrea as an association what are the key priorities for you this year.
Slattery: Well some of the priorities we've got and there is a tax white paper which will actually be looking at the tax concession and the non-concessional issue that I just spoke about. We've also got the intergenerational report and federation report which actually also interact – interact with the tax white paper review and we’ve got Financial Systems Inquiry. So what we are hoping to do is to spend a lot of time with the appropriate people to help them understand that we need to have surety and clarity and we need to have – we need it simple for people to be able to save and retire and so we need to have a focus on the consumer and so most of all where it will be working towards helping trustees understand their roles and responsibilities helping the government and the regulators and the legislative designers understand that they need to build a future that lasts for 40 years in this particular retirement area.
St Anne: Andrea thanks again for your time.
Slattery: Thank you very much Christine, its pleasure