Class plans “significant” new features for Class Super in Q1 2019, as growth slows

Class Ltd is planning to release a number of “significant” new features for its Class Super software in the first three months of 2019, as growth in SMSFs using the software slows.

The announcement accompanied the company’s quarterly update to the stock market, which reported an increase of Class Super accounts by 1,529 for the December 2018 quarter. This took the total number of SMSFs using Class Super to 167,631. The increase in new accounts would have been higher, but the figure is “net of ~1,000 AMP suspensions”. Read more...

ASIC takes court action to restrain SMSF property advice without licence

ASIC is taking court action against a firm and individual who, it is alleged, were recommending clients start SMSFs to invest in property and receiving “substantial commissions” from the builders while not having a financial service licence.

ASIC announced that it had commenced proceedings against Richard Gardner and Advanced Wealth Financial Services Pty Ltd in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Mr Gardner is a credit representative and former financial adviser.

ASIC alleges that Mr Gardner and Advanced Wealth Financial Services were profiting financial services without a licence or authorisation, following an investigation. Read more...

Labor’s franking credit policy a “cruel blow” to retirees

Labor’s policy to stop most refunds of franking credits is cruel blow to retirees, and fails four tests of public policy, says the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System.

The Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System says Labor’s franking credits measure fails four tests of sound public policy – adequacy, sustainability, certainty, and “most importantly” fairness.

Labor facing backlash on franking credits from ‘grey army’

Labor is facing a backlash on its policy of stopping most refunds of franking credits from the “grey army” of over 1 million self-funded retirees, Advance Australia has claimed.

Advance Australia, sometimes described as the conservative answer to GetUp!, has so far received over 6,500 signatures on its petition against Labor’s policy and has a target of 10,000.

$500,000 minimum for cost-effective SMSFs is “misleadingly high”

A threshold of $500,000 below which SMSFs are likely to not be cost competitive with larger funds is “misleadingly high”, according to SuperConcepts.

The Productivity Commission, in its recently released report on the super system, found that larger SMSFs were broadly competitive in terms of investment performance with large APRA-regulated funds. However “many” SMSFs with balances under $500,000 “delivered materially lower returns on average than larger SMSFs”, said the Commission in its report.

Future of SMSFs borrowing with LRBAs still unclear

The future of borrowing in SMSFs, using Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBAs), remains unclear but could be settled by the upcoming election.

The Productivity Commission, in its recently released report into efficiency and competitiveness in the super system, said that borrowing in SMSFs is not currently a “material systemic risk”, but that “active monitoring” is warranted – including by the Council of Financial Regulators. The Commission didn’t recommend a change to LRBAs, but have recommendations around SMSF advice.

Cost of a comfortable retirement rises modestly in September 2018 quarter

The cost of living for retirees rose modestly in the September 2018 quarter, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has found.

Based on the ASFA Retirement Standard the cost of a ‘comfortable’ retirement, at age 65, for couples is now $60,843 (up 0.4% from the previous quarter) and $43,200 for singles (up 0.6%).

Productivity Commission recommends only minor SMSF changes

The Productivity Commission has released the report of its inquiry into the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system and if new ways to allocate default funds are needed. The report recommends new workers are allocated to a default fund once – after being shown a list of up to 10 top funds. Other recommendations include changes to advice around SMSF.