SMSFs ‘front and centre’ of government review

The efficiency of the SMSF sector will be a major focus of the Productivity Commission’s review of the super system, suggesting significant and systemic change could be in the pipeline.

Given the Murray Inquiry’s finding that Australia’s superannuation system is not operationally efficient, the Productivity Commission’s review will be assessing all its moving parts – including and in particular, the SMSF sector.

“SMSFs are definitely front and centre, indeed we have a whole appendix in our study in terms of how we will apply the framework to SMSF space,” said Karen Chester, deputy chair of the Productivity Commission, addressing delegates at the SMSF Association’s national conference in Melbourne.

“The reason being, SMSFs inject a form of dynamism in the competition of the super fund trustees in the market, and some describe it as SMSFs keep the bastards honest,” Ms Chester said. 

“We will be looking at what competition SMSFs have injected, what impact that has had on super fund trustees, but also asking and answering, is SMSF efficient?

Following these comments, Vanguard executive Robin Bowerman suggested that those hoping for a period of stability in superannuation may be disappointed.

The full report is due to be submitted to the government in August.

Mr Bowerman also foreshadowed a period of change ahead for superannuation, given the system is far from maturity.

“Many of us in the room, of a certain age demographic and been around the industry for many years, may feel like the super system is well and truly mature. It isn’t. It won’t be until the 2040s that the first workers will retire with the full benefit of SG over their entire working lives,” he said.

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