Nicole Cannon, founder and director of Pink Finance, explains how she helped her clients navigate a complicated SMSF purchase
Referrals are a great source of business and are testament to a strong professional reputation.
This particular client was a couple referred to Pink Finance by their relative, who happened to be an accountant. They had a commercial property, from which they operated a business, and they needed two loans to be refinanced.
The first business loan was secured by the client’s home, and the other was a commercial property loan. They needed to be consolidated into a single, term loan.
The first twist in the tale was that the business loan had been neglected by the bank. Not only had the loan expired 18 months prior to this, but the bank had not renewed it and the loan statements carried no record of interest charges or repayments. Further, the bank manager who looked after the client initially was now on parental leave and there was immense pressure from the bank to discharge the loan as soon as possible.
The accountant had advised the client to set up a self-managed super fund and then use that to take over the loans. However, the client had very little in their super account, and the only asset would have been the property.
It was possible to structure the loan in this fashion, but the client had only basic knowledge of SMSFs and how complicated they could become when leveraged in this way.
On top of the financial challenges, there was also significant personal strain as one of the client’s children was very ill. They were completely overwhelmed with information and were facing a difficult time emotionally, too. They didn’t know who to believe or listen to, but they did know that they needed the advice and services of a finance professional.
Adding to the pressure, their current lender was phoning on a regular basis, and even the accountant had found some roadblocks. It was fair to say the whole situation was very stressful.
Complicated products and procedures can often prevent a person from seeing the wood for the trees, so to speak. In this case, the client was caught up in the SMSF structure and coverage of SMSFs in the news. These factors, and the conversations they had had with other finance professionals, were clouding their judgment.
Having the professional experience to recognise this – as well as being detached from their additional sources of stress – meant that I was able to bring clarity to their situation and help them to successfully navigate the minefield, by recommending they seek further independent financial advice on their overall situation.
The entire scenario was resolved by not proceeding with the SMSF option and instead opting for a simple refinance. This meant the loan was secured by the commercial property, and, further, the home security and expired term loan could then be taken out of the equation.
I negotiated with the lender to ensure retrospective penalty interest was not charged. This was a huge win for the client
Following this, I introduced myself to the lender that had provided the expired loan, and commenced constant and regular communication on its status and updates. I negotiated with them to ensure retrospective penalty interest was not charged. This was a huge win for the client.
The loan settled as a single commercial loan; the business loans were refinanced and the client’s principal place of residence was removed from the title.
For any client, the most pressing lesson from an experience like this is the importance of knowing when something is wrong. It’s of paramount importance that clients don’t allow ‘advisers’ to influence them into believing what they know is wrong. Always keep stating the facts as you know them and reminding yourself of them regularly; that’s useful for brokers, too.
My second takeaway is that your clients and anybody who is advising them should have a strong grasp of the complexity of a transaction, especially when dealing with SMSFs.
This deal proceeded with Pink Finance because of the relationship and care we provided when explaining the scenario to the client, and the fact that we were also mindful of their family concerns.
At one stage the client said their plan was to ignore the mounting financial problems they faced, and it was my role to highlight the serious consequences of this.
The client was extremely grateful for the patience, care, knowledge, communication and guidance that I provided throughout this time, and I have since received several referrals. Everyone was happy with how this worked out, and I learnt so much along the way.
Thinktank, as the refinancing lender, was incredibly patient through the application, and mindful that the clients should receive the best possible outcome.
Founder and director