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BGL pushes ASIC to remove ‘misleading’ SMSF fact sheet

Ron Lesh
Miranda Brownlee
11 August 2020 — 1 minute read

SMSF software firm BGL has called on ASIC to remove a flyer relating to the suitability of SMSFs and the average costs of SMSFs from its website along with all other references to this document.

Last year, ASIC issued a fact sheet to all newly registered SMSF trustees which contained statistics around how returns compare for SMSFs with a balance below and above $500,000, details on reporting requirements and annual fees for SMSF trustees, and the consequences of non-compliance with the SIS Act.

The fact sheet has been criticised by a range of commentators in the SMSF space over inconsistencies in the data sources used in it and making exaggerated claims about costs.


Figures released by the ATO in June indicated that it in fact costs four times less to run an SMSF than the estimates released by ASIC last year.

In a recent statement, BGL managing director Ron Lesh said ASIC’s calculation of $13,900 as the average cost of running an SMSF each year is “absolute rubbish and is totally discredited by the latest ATO statistics”.

“We now know ASIC included a whole lot of expenses that are not incurred and will probably never be incurred by most SMSFs,” Mr Lesh said.

Mr Lesh said in its calculation, ASIC included expenses such as interest expense within Australia, interest expenses overseas, investment expenses, management and admin expenses, forestry managed investment scheme, and other deductions.

“Yet the only expenses common to all SMSFs are the SMSF auditor fee, management and admin expenses and supervisory levy,” he noted.

“ASIC should know this. Yet they deliberately published figures. If they did not know the data was misleading, they should have!”

BGL has completed its own analysis of the latest ATO data to try and determine the real cost of running an SMSF.

“The results are starkly different from the ASIC flyer. Based on the ATO’s latest data, the median cost of running an SMSF including only the expenses common to all SMSFs ranges from $1,639 for a fund with assets of less than $50,000 to $3,934 for a fund with assets between $1 million and $2 million. Funds with assets over $2 million cost less to run than funds with assets between $1 million and $2 million,” he said.

“The median common expenses for all funds is $3,322.”

While BGL’s analysis was of 2017–18 financial year data, Mr Lesh said this data does not differ significantly from the data used by ASIC from the 2016–17 financial year.

“ASIC’s argument they used the best data available is probably correct — it’s how they spun the data that is grossly misleading,” he said.

“It is time for ASIC to come clean and withdraw its misleading, SMSFs-are-not-for-everyone flyer and to also remove all references to this flyer and its data from ASIC’s websites.”

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.

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