SMSF adviser logo
subscribe to our newsletter

Smaller SMSFs underperfoming, says SuperConcepts

Miranda Brownlee
03 February 2017 — 1 minute read

SMSFs with balances of less than $200,000 have larger expense ratios and cannot achieve adequate diversification, according to research conducted by SuperConcepts and the University of Adelaide.

The report When size matters: A closer look at SMSF performance – compiled by SuperConcepts and the University of Adelaide’s International Centre for Financial Services – examined how fund size affected performance, diversification and expense ratios.

The report used data from more than 20,000 SMSFs from 2008-09 to 2014-15.


SuperConcepts general manager of technical services and education Peter Burgess said the research revealed that the benefits of investment diversification start to kick when the balance of the fund reaches $200,000.

“Our research shows size matters, with large SMSFs performing better than small ones. Performance, diversification and expense ratios continue to improve as a fund increases in size,” Mr Burgess said.

University of Adelaide professor Ralf-Yves Zurbrugg said there is a “double whammy” for SMSFs with balances under $200,000.

“These funds not only have much larger expense ratios compared to larger funds, but they also lose out due to their inability to achieve adequate levels of investment diversification,” Professor Zurbrugg said.

According to the research, large funds “are more efficient in their operation in terms of the direct expenses involved in managing an SMSF”.

The research showed that when a fund reaches $550,000 under management, its expense ratio dips below 2 per cent, and diversification and performance is comparable to the largest funds.

This recent research follows guidance released by ASIC in mid-2015 outlining its view that an SMSF with a starting balance of $200,000 or less is unlikely to be in the client’s best interests.

It drew mixed reactions from the industry with Olivia Long, CEO of Xpress Super and SuperGuardian criticising ASIC for interfering with the parameters of which the SMSF sector operates.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

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 also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

You can email Miranda on: [email protected]momentummedia.com.au
Smaller SMSFs underperfoming, says SuperConcepts
smsfadviser logo
join the discussion


Get the latest news and opinions delivered to your inbox each morning

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.