ATO releases new analysis of SMSFs

The ATO has released its yearly statistical overview of SMSFs, revealing borrowing patterns and changes in trustee demographics.

In Self-managed super funds: A statistical overview 2011-12, released this week, the ATO said the SMSF sector has continued to respond well to changing economic circumstances.

“This was evident from changes in the level of growth in SMSFs, contributions made to the sector and shifts in asset types held,” the overview said.

“There were positive shifts in SMSF numbers and the level of contributions, in line with improved confidence in economic conditions. SMSFs are both flexible and resilient in their ability to concentrate or diversify asset portfolios.”

SMSFs also held $6.3 billion in borrowings and $3.5 billion in other liabilities at 30 June 2012, with the level of borrowings equivalent to 1.4 per cent of total SMSF assets.

The proportion of SMSFs with borrowings increased progressively to 3.7 per cent in 2012, according to the ATO.

In addition, SMSFs with borrowings were more likely to hold non-residential and residential real property, assets held under limited recourse borrowing arrangements and other assets, compared to the total SMSF population.

The overview also confirmed SMSF members tended to be older than members of APRA-regulated funds. However, there was a continued trend of members of new SMSFs coming from younger age groups.

Of SMSFs that paid a pension for the first time, there continued to be an increase in the proportion of these funds that were in their first year of operation, according to the ATO. However, a majority of SMSFs remain solely in accumulation phase.

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