Lower-balance funds ‘at risk’, says Centric

Investors should have a minimum balance of $500,000 before establishing an SMSF to make the self-managed route worthwhile and feasible, according to Centric Wealth.

SMSFs established with a balance of $200,000 or lower are “at risk” of running down the value of their fund and should consider all the options in the marketplace before selecting the self-managed route, Centric Wealth’s technical specialist, Natasha Panagis, told SMSF Adviser.

“The costs of running an SMSF are quite high… [we] think that adequate level is around the half-million mark to make it feasible,” Ms Panagis said. “The higher the balance, the fees can potentially drop.

“The investment side is important as well; having more funds available will allow you to actually be… more well diversified,” she added.

Trustees should also be considering assets such as property to make an SMSF “worthwhile”, Ms Panagis said.

“With SMSFs you’re able to invest in any asset that’s allowable under super law - shares, managed funds and the like - but you can do that in any fund.

“The difference with SMSFs is that you have access to invest in other types of… investments such as direct property… being able to do that in an SMSF is advantageous in comparison to other funds.”

Lower SMSF account balances would make it difficult to invest in property, Ms Panagis added, given the fund could potentially be highly illiquid.

“You wouldn’t really have any reserves or cash in the fund to be able to maintain that property which is one of the main reasons, or contributing reasons, why we suggest at least half a million balance.”

A previous SMSF Adviser straw poll showed practitioners reject the concept of a minimum balance for SMSFs, with Capital 19 Global Investments owner Matthew Jones saying “It’s a personal choice and I’d be reluctant to put a dollar figure on it, because I think the other factors are a lot more important.”

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