“There were almost 30,000 new self-managed super funds (SMSFs) established in Australia during 2016”, said David Potts, Chartered Accountant from Potts & Schnelle, Corowa. “SMSFs are now the largest sector in the superannuation industry with $654 billion invested as at December 2016. This is larger than the retail sector (eg. AMP, MLC) and the industry sector (eg. Australian Super, Hostplus) and represents a significant pool of investment money to fund the future retirement of its owners.”

“The number of SMSFs using an accountant increased by 30% over the last decade, highlighting the important partnership between accountant and client with regard to managing this important asset.”

“David and I have just returned from the National SMSF Conference, held in Sydney last week,” adds Paul Schnelle, Chartered Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, “the information that we received at the conference was highly technical and added to our competency levels, to enable us to continue to confidently fully service this sector. There have been significant rule changes in the past six months and it is important that SMSFs don’t breach the new rules and risk significant taxation and financial penalties.”

“SMSF’s are a highly valuable component to the taxation and retirement strategies of our business and high net worth clients. An SMSF enables clients to invest directly into real estate and is a significant reason why many are established,” continued Paul. “We have many clients who own their business premises or farms via their SMSF enabling them to manage their cash flow while still maximising their superannuation contributions and substantially building their wealth.”

“Also,” added David, “the costs of maintaining an SMSF is relatively fixed, so, unlike retail and industry funds, as your balance increases the costs to not go up proportionally. This differs greatly from other superannuation funds who charge their fees on a percentage basis and consequently, the larger the balance, the larger the fee.”

“We are using the latest accounting technology to maintain the books of the SMSFs. We are working towards being able to provide fully up-to-date information throughout the year, not just as at year-end. This will assist with the management, strategic and investment decisions going forward. Our in-house financial planners can provide investment advice if required, or the client can make their own decisions, whatever is right for them. Borrowing for land purchases is also a common strategy.”

“From a strategic point of view,” said Paul, “by timing the contributions appropriately, investing in a mixture of short and long term assets and by utilising pension structures when available, we have been successful in achieving fully tax free income for our retiree clients, together with a valuable nest-egg to be passed on, tax-free, to their dependents.”

“Superannuation does not automatically form part of your deceased estate, so it is also important to ensure that your SMSF is considered when discussing your Will with your solicitor. The SMSF structure can provide some clever estate planning strategies to assist with Centrelink and disjointed family situations if desired. These should be incorporated into your overall estate plan.”

As you can see, self-managed super funds provide their members with significant advantages that are not available through typical retail or industry funds. This is why they represent such a growth sector.

If you would like to talk to us about whether an SMSF is suitable for you, please contact us on (02) 6033 2233 and mention this article for a FREE first appointment.