Principal and director of John Scully Financial Services, John Scully, said that while SMSFs were the “flavour of the month”, few funds were well managed.
“I think that many SMSFs are poorly managed,” he said.
“I don’t think that they are cost-effective. I think that they are the ‘flavour of the month’ and that in time, people will regret having one and they will have to be fixed up.”
Scully said he believed that often people who decided to set up SMSFs didn’t have a large enough pool of money.
“Clients really need a decent balance to set up an SMSF,” he said.
Recently published Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) superannuation statistics showed that for the year ended 30 June 2012, there were more than 478,000 SMSFs, with the number growing at an average of almost 3,000 new funds per month.
Such a period represented the highest year of growth since the beginning of the global financial crisis.
But AMP’s SMSF administration managing director Andrew Hamilton rubbished the claims, saying that the majority of SMSF clients sought professional advice.
“There’s a misconception that self-managed means making a decision by yourself, but the majority of clients actually get professional advice,” he said.
“I disagree with the comments. A large segment of the SMSF sector is serviced by financial advisers, planners, accountants ... there are professionals attached to a lot of these funds.”
However, Hamilton stressed that clients should make sure they set up an SMSF for the right reason.
“SMSFs are not for everybody, clients should seek to make sure they are the right structure for them,” he added.
He predicted that SMSFs would continue to grow, with an estimated 500,000 SMSFs expected by the end of the calendar year.
“The SMSF sector has gained popularity, with it becoming more of a professional services industry," he said. "The main driver of this has been clients taking ownership and wanting control over their superannuation. They want to have control and flexibility of their investments.”
One of the benefits of SMSFs is the ability to embed life insurance into the fund, he added.