Auditor flags traps with insurance for collectables
With the new rules for collectable assets now in place, an SMSF auditor has cautioned SMSF practitioners on where unexpected compliance issues may arise with the insurance requirements for these assets.
Veritas Corp director Sharlene Anderson urged delegates at the CPA SMSF National Conference to closely monitor compliance with the insurance requirements for collectable assets, with the new rules for collectable assets now applying to those assets that were previously grandfathered.
Ms Anderson referred to a situation where a trustee had artworks that were insured by a policy held by a company leasing artworks.
“So it wasn’t the super fund that had the insurance, it was the people leasing the artwork that had taken out the insurance policy,” she said.
“So the artwork [was] insured, but under regulation it has to be insured in the name of the super fund, [so it wasn’t] going to pass. The party that was leasing it had insured it, and had nominated the leasing agent as the beneficial party. The owner of the artwork, the super fund, was not mentioned anywhere in the policy.”
Ms Anderson said the regulator’s response was simple, stating that because the policy was not in the super fund’s name and was not a beneficiary or even listed as an interested party, it was a compliance problem.
“The response was to take out another insurance policy for the artwork, so basically double insure the artwork,” she said.
Ms Anderson reminded SMSF auditors that these types of compliance issues are reportable and there is a statutory time limit for reporting them.
“If you go back to say a 2015 audit and it’s got artwork in it, and it’s not insured, the time limit for the fund having the artwork insured, was the 14 July 2016. So even though you might be doing a 2015 audit, if it’s not insured, you’re going to have a breach now in the 2015 year,” she said.
The reporting criteria has to be lodged within the statutory time limit, once the fund has failed to comply with requirements for more than 14 days.
“So if more than 21 days has passed since the fund acquired the artwork and it’s not insured by the fund, you need to lodge a contravention report, regardless of the materiality,” Ms Anderson said.
While few funds tend to hold collectable assets, this is one reason to keep a closer eye on these assets.
“There’s not a lot of them, so you’re probably not dealing with these assets all the time,
“Keep your eye out for that one if you do have anyone with artwork. You probably don’t have a lot of funds with artwork, but because you don’t have a lot of them, you’re not doing them all the time, so it’s something to watch out for and be aware of.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.