Marking an Australian first, the SMSF Association announced a strategic partnership with one of the biggest financial services regulators.
The association has entered a three-year strategic partnership with the Australian Tax Office to ensure effective regulation and integrity of the SMSF sector, according to a statement of intent released today.
SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery described the agreement as a landmark partnership between the SMSF sector's key regulator and representative body.
"The goals are to work in partnership to improve and maintain the integrity and professionalism of the SMSF sector and focus on enhancing industry knowledge and competency, with trustees being a major target," Slattery said.
"We are also committed to work together to be able to influence the right behaviour."
Slattery explained that, in practice, the partnership will be about developing the knowledge and competency of the SMSF professionals and trustees via shared research and knowledge projects and increasing the efficiency of dealings between the sector, regulator and government.
"The collaboration of the association and ATO will ensure the delivery of high-quality education and information services for SMSF trustees and the wider financial services sector. The support and commitment of the ATO to the SMSF sector will further enable us to implement our vision of allowing Australians to take greater control of their own retirement destiny through a sustainable SMSF community," Slattery continued.
Chris Jordan, the Commissioner of Taxation, said productive partnerships with industry bodies are key to the ATO being a leading tax and superannuation administrator.
"This is a clear example of the way we work collaboratively with industry to ensure community trust and confidence in the tax and superannuation systems. The SMSF Association, members and advisors should be proud of the positive relationship that they have developed with the ATO," Jordan said.
Jordan added that the statement of intent formalises the existing relationship between both parties, describing it as a commitment by the ATO and the SMSF Association to deliver joint activities which contribute to ensuring the integrity of the SMSF sector.
"This partnership will improve our ability to manage compliance, support trustees and implement policy by working together to share information, increase efficiency, minimise regulatory intervention and build on professionalism within the sector," Jordan concluded.