Another barrier to professionalism

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As advisers aim to be recognised as a profession, the Government’s decision to cap tax deductions on self-education at $2000 makes things all the more difficult.

SPAA has been working hard to lift professional standards and says the decision is both “short-sighted and self-defeating”.

“A quick check of what’s involved for SPAA members to remain at the top of their game in a FoFA environment clearly indicates that the $2000 cap is totally inappropriate and misunderstands the costs of professionalism,” says SPAA senior manager, Technical & Policy, Jordan George.

“By our reckoning a SPAA specialist would spend more than $6000 a year attending conferences and participating in courses and webinars just to stay abreast of developments in their professions, and that’s taking a conservative view of what courses and conferences they attend.”

He says that qualifications are not the end of the education process for advisers, who have to continually improve their skills. With the SMSF sector now at about $500 billion in assets under management, George says it is vital that trustees are able to access high quality advice, and that it is the clients who will lose if members face barriers to improving their skills.

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) CEO Andrew Conway, said that the cap was inappropriate while members were trying to meet new TASA and limited AFSL requirements.

“Further, as the mobility of professionals increase within Asia, our young people are having to compete with their counterparts from China in staggering numbers. It is reported that China is producing more than 20 million university graduates every year.”

He says that the return of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister posed an opportunity to reconsider the cap.

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