SMSF performance shouldn’t be an Australian Idol competition

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An industry stalwart has issued a warning to advisers about participating in SMSF surveys, which he said don’t always tell the whole truth.

Manoj Abichandani, the founder of online SMSF deed provider Deed Dot Com, told Wealth Professional that he is concerned about flawed surveys that purport to identify the sector’s “best performing” service providers.

“We currently have a vacuum of solid data about who the best performing SMSF service providers really are and that space, where we need credible research, is being filled with potentially biased and unreliable surveys and polls.”

A survey of the providers would give a more accurate picture of the sector than simply asking advisers their opinions, he said.

Abichandani has seen a variety of surveys that mention only a small number of brands by name, something he said can’t possibly generate results that credibly represent what is going on in the burgeoning SMSF space.

As ASIC currently has over 7,000 SMSF-registered auditors, a survey asking the respondent to choose from a list of five brands is hardly going to give a representative outcome, he said.

“What will then happen is the results will go out to about 15,000 advisers and accountants. I think it’s incorrect information…I feel strongly about it – what does ‘popular’ even mean?”

Abichandani wants to see a credible study done of the number of Actuarial Certificate’s issued by actual service providers to find out how well they are really going.

Such an approach would eliminate the risk of giving accolades to only those who can rally the most people on their databases and social media sites.

“You can bend the rules because the rules aren’t very clear,” he said. “This is not an Australian Idol competition. We are attempting to gain public and regulatory recognition as a credible profession with high levels of expertise. We need real scrutiny of our products and practices.”

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