Cooper still cautious on leveraging in SMSFs

Chair of the Super System Review Jeremy Cooper has suggested leveraged investments in SMSFs should be monitored to ensure they don’t “get out of control.”

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Mr Cooper said limited recourse borrowing arrangements can be a cause of concern if they are not structured appropriately.

“I think I’ve made this clear, I don’t like… that the genie has pretty much got out of the bottle in terms of people being able to structure leveraged investments in SMSFs, so that has to be watched,” he said.

“When you see someone being recommended to set up an SMSF to make this one investment, and it turns out to be leveraged, residential property investment you think ‘well that doesn’t look like a good retirement vehicle’ in the sense that it’s undiversified leveraged [and] not liquid,” he added. “So that causes me some concern.”

The 2010 Cooper Review found that borrowing was potentially not consistent with Australia’s retirement income policy, and suggested a review was needed within two years.

Several industry groups, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, have rallied for a review into SMSF borrowing.

The ICAA previously stated that addressing mounting concerns related to borrowing arrangements is “crucial” to the strength of the SMSF sector.

“This review is now overdue. The industry needs it to happen in order to identify what changes may need to be made to the current policy settings around borrowing within SMSFs,” the ICAA’s head of superannuation Liz Westover said.

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