SMSF’s are a force to be dealt with...

The quarterly ATO SMSF statistics are always a great read. Tables and numbers ‘speak a thousand words’ as they say. The latest June 2018 quarterly report is no exception. Coming off the Super Reforms, Royal Commission, ASIC reports, Federal Budget and anything else that has been thrown at SMSF’s in the last 18mths, it would be easy to believe the naysayers, in the talk that SMSF’s are on their way out or people are leaving in droves.

I am a deep seeded passionate supporter on all that is SMSF’s, and I am proud to say that on reading the latest statistics it warmed the bottom of my heart. The stats show that SMSFs are not going anywhere without a fight.

There are now over 596,000 funds and over 1.1million members. The assets supporting this sector has increased to a staggering $750 billion. We may see investment markets go up and down, but this is one industry where the assets under investment just keep increasing. This position is unprecedented. This net asset figure is also after the record level of benefit payments that have come out of the industry. Benefit payments have actually nearly doubled over the last 5 years.

There has been a lot of talk on the insurmountable number of wind-ups in recent times. This is just not true. Wind ups since 2013 to current date have stayed consistent. Granted the gross number of establishments have decreased over this time period but the end result is that there has been a steady year on year increase in the number of funds. In fact, since 2013, the net number of funds have increased by close to 100,000.

The report also highlighted that the average bandwidth in relation to age of members is coming down. 84.31% of members are 45yrs or over. More and more younger people are setting up SMSF’s.

It was also interesting to see the trend continue that the average size fund (Average assets of $1.2mill) have close to 56% of their assets across cash and listed securities. NSW and VIC also continue to be the two leading states in the administration of funds making up a combined 64%.

SMSF’s provide many benefits to over 1.1million members and growing. It provides a level of self-sufficiency in retirement that Australia needs, even though Treasury can be very short sighted on at times. We need to look beyond the day to day noise and continue to direct and help SMSF Trustees/ members seek the retirement they so deserve. The government coffers are shrinking and SMSF’s play an invaluable role in filling the retirement gaps of retirees

Julie Dolan

Head of Strategy and Technical Services NowInfinity

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