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New communications methods to be significant

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Imminent changes to accepted communication techniques between advisers and trustees are likely to have a significant impact on SMSFs

The consultation process underway with regard to business communications is likely to play a significant role in shaping how SMSFs are run by trustees and serviced by advisers for this year and into the future, a technical specialist has said.

“This is something that is a longer-term project, quite clearly because of the sheer gravity of it, but the government is now steadfast in looking to deregulate the way in which we can interact [with our clients and other stakeholders],” Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn said.

He pointed out this will be undertaken with a view to modernising existing communication techniques “in a way in which we will reduce costs and to better reflect the way a lot of us ultimately want to engage and communicate digitally.”

According to Dunn, there will be five key areas that will be significantly affected by this process, two of which are written communication, that is, how information is transferred between different stakeholders, businesses, customers and investors, and the way in which communication with the regulator is conducted.

Another key area he identified where transformation was already underway but set to change even more was the use of digital approvals or signatures.

“This is actually much more than the electronic signature requirements. This is significantly carving out that area because [the government is] already taking the necessary steps for this to become law. [So this will involve asking] what other areas where signatories are required could we actually look to improve as long as we still have that appropriate validation process and acceptance of that type of method,” Dunn noted.

“A really good example [of this] might be the way in which a binding death benefit nomination may actually be validated rather than it having to be physically signed and then witnessed because of the requirements that are set out within section 6.17A [of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act].”

Payment methods and record-keeping are the final areas he said would be influenced by this consultation process.

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