Corporate trustees see surge in member interest
Corporate trustee structures are growing in popularity among SMSF members due to the protection they offer against succession issues, administrative penalties and problems with separation of member assets, according to SuperConcepts.
In a recent blog, SuperConcepts executive manager of SMSF technical and private wealth Graeme Colley said while there were advantages and disadvantages of both individual and corporate trustee structures, more than 80 per cent of newly set up funds were choosing the corporate trustee structure.
This was because it simplifies administrative processes around issues such as succession, ownership of fund assets and separation of assets, he said.
“On the death of an individual trustee, the deceased member’s legal personal representative may be appointed until the deceased member’s benefit is paid,” Mr Colley said.
“If only one trustee remains, a replacement trustee who is not a fund member must be appointed or they must move to a sole director corporate trustee.
“[Conversely,] a corporate trustee continues in the event of the death of a director. The fund investments remain in the name of the company as trustee and provide more certainty in relation to control of the SMSF.”
When it came to asset ownership, for individual trustees each asset had to be registered in the name of each trustee, meaning if a trustee left the fund, the ownership registrations would need to be changed to reflect this.
“The recording and registering of assets are generally simpler [for corporate trustees] than individual trustees,” Mr Colley said.
“Fund assets are registered in the name of the corporate trustee. Any change of director will not require a change to the name in which the fund assets are registered.”
Having a corporate trustee could also ensure that the personal assets of a member were not accidentally intermingled with the assets in their fund, and would protect the member from personal liability in case of an administrative penalty, Mr Colley added.
However, there were additional costs involved in setting up a corporate trustee which could be seen as the main downside of this structure for members, including the costs to set up the company and pay an annual review fee to ASIC each year.