These figures, from UBS and the Financial Services Council’s SMSF National Survey, suggest it is demand for flexibility rather than performance or service that acts as the “key driver" of SMSF establishment, according to Bryce Doherty, head of UBS Global Asset Management in Australia.
The report also found 38 per cent of people setting up SMSFs did so by switching from industry super funds; 30 per cent from retail super funds; and 20 per cent from government super funds.
SMSF portfolios largely comprise cash, at 35 per cent, and Australian equities at 23 per cent, with almost no exposure to international assets or infrastructure, the research stated.
"SMSF owners considering diversifying their portfolios cite international shares as the most common choice, which represents a distinctive shift in interest from the more traditional holdings in cash and domestic equities,” Mr Doherty said.
“This provides a significant opportunity for fund managers to provide access to offshore investment opportunities in both equities and bonds.
"The research shows that SMSFs want control and transparency over their investments so how these products are offered through vehicles such as ETFs or other types of direct investments will be a key differentiator,” he said.