The research firm’s 2019 SMSF Accountant Report surveyed just under 5,000 investors and approximately 285 planners and found that an increasing number of those with SMSFs were using advisers other than financial planners for help running their fund.
By extrapolating the sample size of around 1,900 trustees to reflect the total SMSF population, the research found around 275,000 SMSFs would use an adviser other than a planner, while 215,000 would use a planner and 105,000 would not use any type of adviser.
The number of trustees using an adviser other than a planner had increased from 260,000 in 2018, while those using no adviser at all had decreased from 125,000 in 2018.
At the same time, the number of SMSFs who used a planner had increased slightly from 210,000 in 2018, but decreased significantly from 225,000 in 2017.
However, the research also noted that as SMSF trustees were turning away from financial planners, they had increasing unmet advice needs, with around 315,000 SMSFs needing advice they were not receiving in 2019, compared to 275,000 in 2018.
The most common areas trustees wanted advice in were pension strategies, estate planning and identifying undervalued assets, with pension strategies and identifying undervalued assets having almost doubled in demand since 2018.
Meanwhile, when it came to investment advice around SMSFs, planners with SMSF clients reported increasing interest from trustees around newer investment vehicles such as ETFs and listed investment companies.
The planners surveyed indicated that in the last 12 months, 12 per cent of the SMSF funds they had advised on had been invested in ETFs, up from 11 per cent in 2018 and 10 per cent in 2017.
At the same time, 6 per cent of advised funds in SMSFs had gone into LICs or REITs, up from 5 per cent in 2018, while 29 per cent of SMSF funds had been invested in managed funds, down from 32 per cent in 2018.
Cash was also gradually finding less favour among SMSF clients, with 19 per cent of advised funds having gone into cash in the last 12 months, compared to 21 per cent in 2018 and 22 per cent in 2017.