The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China has the potential to open up this massive market to Australia’s superannuation and financial services industries, says the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) CEO/Managing Director Andrea Slattery.
“The FTA provides the architecture for this enormous export opportunity for these industries. When you couple the FTA with our strengthening cultural ties with China through tourism, education and immigration, then there is a real opportunity for Australia to be a leader in this space.
“There will be opportunities across a range of services, including financial advice; fund administration; system design; retirement income policy expertise; and complex data storage, security and management.”
Slattery was addressing the 2014 University of Sydney’s fourth China Business Forum on the topic of “Trade Opportunities & Free Trade” yesterday – the same day that the Chinese and Australian governments signed the landmark FTA in Canberra. The financial services sector was one of the industry sectors to emerge a clear winner from the agreement.
She says China is part of the broader opportunity that Asia offers the superannuation and financial services industries with Asia’s middle class expected to grow to three billion people between now and 2050 and hold more than half the world’s financial assets.
“Australia has set the pace in the region with its superannuation system, and the advice industries that have grown in parallel with it, as recognised by the Mercer Global Pension Index that recently ranked Australia’s system as the second best in the world.
“This level of expertise and knowledge is appreciated in China and other Asian countries and we now have the opportunity to reap the benefits as they look to replicate our system as they come to grips with similar issues linked to an ageing population.”
Slattery warns that although there is an unprecedented opportunity in Asia, the superannuation and financial services industries will face strong competition in these markets.
“It will be imperative for these industries to offer world best practices to convert this opportunity. This can only be achieved by all industry participants maintaining a focus on increased professionalism and higher educational standards across both the superannuation and financial services sectors.”
The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) is the authoritative voice for the self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sector. SPAA, which represents professionals providing a range of services across various disciplines in the complex area of SMSFs, is an advocate for the highest professional standards and competence to ensure SMSF trustees always receive the best possible advice.
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