How are SMSF advisers handling a post 1 July world? – 2017 National Superannuation Conference

Jemma Sanderson CTA

1 July 2017 saw the biggest changes to the taxation of superannuation in a decade come into effect.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Act 2016 was passed in late 2016. Subsequent regulations have been introduced to support the introduction of the Government’s reforms and the ATO has finalised various compliance and law companion guidelines on the tax and superannuation reforms.

The stage is therefore set for the National Superannuation Conference in August, featuring a dedicated stream for advisers to large funds and those working with self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). 

Here we take a look at a number of key sessions for SMSF advisers, covering the changes to the transfer balance cap, contributions, fixed trust issues, and death benefits and superannuation succession planning.

Transfer balance cap

On day one of the conference, following the opening address from Michael Pascoe on the ‘shape-shifting nature of the government’s fiscal policy’, Jemma Sanderson CTA will launch into one of the more controversial elements of the recent reforms in her session on the transfer balance cap.

In place since 1 July 2017, the transfer balance cap provisions saw substantial planning by many fund trustees taking place in the lead up to 30 June.

But where are we now?

In her session, Jemma will look at the current landscape for the cap, and reporting, record keeping and other ongoing issues. Looking at strategies to avoid an excess transfer balance, particularly with respect to transition to retirement, Jemma will look in detail at transition to retirement pensions and whether they are still worthwhile.

Discussing what advisers and fund managers should do when faced with an excess transfer balance, Jemma will also cover the issues and strategies to consider when dealing with defined benefit income streams.

As a Director at Cooper Partners Financial Services, Jemma heads up the firm's SMSF specialist services. With more than 16 years’ experience in developing complex strategies for high net worth clients, she is also the author of The Tax Institute’s popular SMSF Guide, recently published in a revised 8th edition, and is the convener of our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law Advanced Superannuation unit.


The laws regarding contributions to superannuation have also changed substantially since 1 July. In his session, Mark Wilkinson CTA will outline the changes, risks and potential strategies associated with the new laws.

A Superannuation Partner with BDO in Sydney, Mark has more than twenty years’ experience in superannuation and retirement planning, and provides strategic superannuation advice on how state and federal legislation impacts the areas of superannuation, retirement, and estate and succession planning for clients as they build their wealth en-route to retirement.

Mark’s session outlines the key changes and transition provisions, and takes a closer look at the application of the 'bring forward rule' following the changes. Looking at the effect of superannuation account balances on contributions, Mark will outline strategies and examples relating to the operation of the new rules in practice.

Fixed trust issues

Ever since SMSFs came into being, they have invested in trusts. When considering an SMSF investment in a unit trust, advisers usually focus on the superannuation laws, but the tax issues can be just as important.

Daniel Smedley CTA will present the session ‘Fixed trust issues for SMSFs’ and will cover a range of issues for advisers to be aware of when looking at these investments – in particular looking at whether such trusts are fixed trusts.

As Principal of Sladen Legal, Daniel primarily advises businesses and high net worth individuals in relation to business and investment structuring, trusts, succession planning and taxation law. He is also the principal author of the Trust Structures Guide, published by The Tax Institute, and was named one of Australia’s 'Best Lawyers of the Year' in 2016 and 2017.

In his session, Daniel will look at the application of the non-arm’s length income rules for investments in trusts, as well as passing franked distributions through to SMSFs. Covering the application of the trust loss rules to unit trusts with SMSF unitholders, he will look at how unit trusts can be effectively structured with these issues in mind.

Income streams and pensions

Thalia Dardamanis CTA will present ‘Helping clients RIP following the superannuation reforms.’ Thalia will cover off how advisers can help clients rest peacefully by properly 'reviewing income streams and pensions' (RIP).

A Principal at Bernie O’Sullivan Lawyers, Thalia is a Specialist SMSF Advisor, with experience in superannuation and estate planning and taxation as it relates to these areas of the law, and is a member of the Institute’s National Superannuation Technical Committee.

In her session, Thalia will help SMSF practitioners understand the reforms as they relate to death benefits and the impact the law will have on their clients’ superannuation succession plans.

Looking at the application of the transfer balance cap on death benefits, Thalia will highlight the vital difference between reversionary pensions and non-reversionary pensions, and whether non-reversionary pensions can – and should – be converted to reversionary pensions.

Advisers and funds managers need to be aware of a number of potential problems with existing binding death benefit nominations, along with the advantages and disadvantages of child pensions. Each of these will be covered in the session. 

Finally, Thalia will ask the question: Can beneficiary-directed binding death benefit nominations exist?

The conference

The National Superannuation Conference will take place on 24-25 August 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney. It is accredited by the Financial Planners Association and the SMSF Association.

You can find out more about the program on our website. Early bird pricing offer ends 14 July 2017.


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