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ASIC fact sheet causing anxiety for trustees with mid-level balances

Graeme Colley
Sarah Kendell
08 January 2020 — 1 minute read

The SMSF fact sheet distributed to new trustees by the corporate regulator late last year may have caused unnecessary anxiety among trustees with mid-level super balances, given the mistaken impression it presented around the expected annual returns for this group, according to SuperConcepts.

In a recent episode of the Accountants Daily Insider podcast, SuperConcepts’ executive manager of SMSF technical and private wealth, Graeme Colley, said ASIC’s fact sheet “Self-managed superannuation funds: Are they for you?” may have unintentionally misled consumers around the level of super assets they needed for an SMSF set-up to be worthwhile.

“What we saw [in the fact sheet] was numbers coming up because numbers are easier to understand,” Mr Colley said.

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“When we saw superannuation funds with more than $500,000 [in the statistics] people thought that was their balance rather than the balance in the superannuation fund. But when you split that down, you’re looking at balances of around $250,000.”

The fact sheet, which ASIC said aimed to get trustees to consider whether an SMSF was appropriate for them, stated that SMSFs with balances below $500,000 had lower returns on average than industry and retail super funds.

However, as the majority of SMSFs have two members, this would equate to an average member balance of around $250,000, meaning the appropriate client base for SMSFs had not changed drastically over time, Mr Colley said.

“If you go back to what ASIC was saying many years ago, that a fund with around about $200,000 in it was appropriate to set up a self-managed fund and run it,” he said.

“So, I don’t think that’s changed greatly in the number that you’re looking at there with $200,000 or $250,000 per person. That seemed to lose a bit in the story itself, the way in which that came across.”

Mr Colley added that he agreed with comments made by the SMSF Association and other industry practitioners that the headline annual running cost of $13,000 quoted in ASIC’s fact sheet was a gross exaggeration.

“We’ve certainly got clients who’ve got very, very large self-managed funds who would have fees in that range, but for the majority of people in the ones we look after, they’re much lower than that because the costs of the audit and the costs of the administration is relatively modest,” he said.

“The peak service that we provide is around $5,000, and that’s a full daily arrangement that we’ve got in place for those clients.”

ASIC fact sheet causing anxiety for trustees with mid-level balances
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