Kris Kitto, director of Superfund Wholesale, said he believes the increased regulation would act to strengthen the SMSF sector and protect it from “anti-SMSF lobbyists”.
In a column first published in AccountantsDaily’s sister publication SMSF Adviser, Mr Kitto said the benefits of the additional mandatory registration would outweigh the costs involved, and despite acknowledging that the idea would not be welcomed by many accountants, he said it is the right thing for the industry.
“With the introduction of sophisticated, cloud-based SMSF platforms in recent years, the disparity between generalist accounting firms that perform some SMSF work and specialist businesses that live, eat and breathe SMSFs has widened,” he said.
“Although many will likely disagree with me, I believe there should be additional mandatory registration of all tax agents who wish to perform SMSF services. The benefits would greatly outweigh the short-term and ongoing costs.
“It would also make the SMSF industry even more robust and efficient, while acting as a shield from anti-SMSF lobbyists who invest millions in trying to undermine the strongest sector of the superannuation industry,” he added.
Mr Kitto claimed additional registration would promote consolidation in the SMSF industry, leading to fewer, but more highly skilled, SMSF specialists.
“The registration of accountants, to be able to lodge SMSF returns, would force all firms to strategically look at whether they should continue to offer SMSF compliance services to their clients,” he said.
“Many multi-disciplined accounting firms have a passion for SMSF, deliver great service, and make it a key point of difference in their offering. They are doing it right.
“Unfortunately, many more firms, regardless of size, are doing SMSFs wrong. They don’t have the right systems or software, they lack the specialist knowledge and, most importantly, they lack staff who are passionate about SMSFs,” Mr Kitto said.