In a blog posted yesterday, Mr Baker said Tria identified four main parts to the value proposition of SMSFs including flexibility, control, and tax benefits.
Mr Baker said SMSFs can invest in “virtually anything”, with bitcoins currently up for debate.
“This is all possible because the rules about investment strategy have few requirements beyond having a strategy (it can be in your head, and you could change your mind daily) and reviewing it periodically. It is a world away from the investment menus of most collective funds,” Mr Baker said.
The flexibility of SMSF investing is positive for tracking the progress of retirement income, Mr Baker said, noting “hardly any” collective funds report to members how their retirement income is tracking.
“In an SMSF, you know what income stream your fund is producing - it’s on the tax return. You can see how that income stream is changing over time, its tax-effectiveness, whether you need to contribute more, or adjust your portfolio.”
The cost of running an SMSF is also decreasing, Mr Baker said, although he stressed that SMSFs remain expensive.
“On average it costs nearly $1,000 to get started, and [approximately] $3,000 per annum to maintain, and that’s before investment costs. That doesn’t make sense for balances below $500,000, but the numbers will keep going down thanks to technology and competition,” Mr Baker said.
He added that SMSFs enjoy the same tax benefits of collective superannuation funds, but make them “much easier to exploit”.
“SMSFs are a legal tax planning vehicle, the like of which we have never seen before. That is not to say that tax minimisation is the dominant purpose in setting up an SMSF, but it is definitely part of the attraction,” he said.