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Popular investment fails to sway SMSFs from safe havens

Miranda Brownlee
01 March 2017 — 1 minute read

The expansion of the ETF market has failed to result in any meaningful increase in the allocation SMSFs make to international equities, with many still overexposed to cash and domestic equities, says UBS.

Speaking at the launch of the FSC/UBS State of the Industry report, UBS head of Australia and New Zealand Bryce Doherty said SMSFs still have a heavy exposure to cash and Australian equities.

“The assets of SMSF members still seem to be too heavily concentrated around domestic assets and, frankly, cash. If you look at what the big industry funds are doing around asset allocation, much more of their allocation is offshore,” Mr Doherty said.


While many people suggest this is due to the franking credits Australian equities offer, Mr Doherty said it is also likely the case that a lot of the large companies were issuing shares to private investors when superannuation was started in 1992 and SMSFs are used to investing in these types of assets.

“You had a lot of massive Australian companies being sold to private markets. So I just think that’s part of what the bias is ... people are very comfortable,” he said.

“One of the other things is that it’s been a pretty good place to be invested over the last 30 odd years. It’s had fairly unstoppable growth.”

FSC chief executive Sally Loane said there has conversely been plenty of interest in terms of international equities investment among the retail and industry super funds.

“That’s growing and continuing to grow, but that’s very low in SMSFs, and that’s a striking difference.”

Mr Doherty said there was an expectation that the development of ETF products would see a big uptick in the SMSFs investing in international equities, which hasn’t been the case.

“But I think now that there are bigger platforms where you’re able to hold direct exposure to equities, that’s possibly where we’re more likely to see SMSFs get into holding offshore equities, given that’s how they hold their local equities,” he said.


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 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.

You can email Miranda on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Popular investment fails to sway SMSFs from safe havens
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