Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF's)
A super fund with the sky as the limit
A Self-Managed Superannuation Fund opens up a whole new vista of investment opportunities. Using a retail super fund or even some industry funds you are able to invest in direct shares. And, of course, all super funds have available investments in managed funds. That's fine for most people preparing for retirement. But there are some for whom other strategies are appropriate. Here are some examples:
- A business owner who wants to own the business premises with his or her SMSF and utilise a strategy involving both the growth of the business and that of the superannuation fund in achieving their retirement obective
- Those who want to invest in direct securities, term deposits and cash, but have very large super balances which make a SMSF highly efficient
- A few who require an investment in direct precious metals or other articles to be held directly as a part of their retirement funding strategy
Cautions in utilising a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund
- A SMSF involves significant responsibility. The members are either the trustees or directors of the corporate trustee. They are to ensure that the fund is operated according to current legislation. Penalties for non-compliance are very severe, potentially involving a non-compiant fund losing nearly half of its value.
- While accountants and financial advisors may be engaged to look after many aspects of the operation of the fund and provide advice, there typically still is a fair bit of administrative work in keeping receipts and providing documentation to those professionals.
- Any super fund must satisfy the "sole purpose test." This test is that investment of the fund must only be for life and retirement benefits. That is to say you cannot have investments that you can get other benefits from. If your SMSF owns a residential property, neither you or family members can stay in that property. Not even in between tenants, and certainly not a holiday property. Should you have works of art owned by your SMSF you cannot have them on display such that you can enjoy looking at them. If it owns a wine collection, you cannot partake of it!
- You are likely to have a checkbook and have the ability to utilise internet banking for the SMSF account. It's important that you do not utilise those funds for anything apart from its own activity and investing.
Advice and assistance in setting up a SMSF
The place to begin is to make sure that a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund is suited to your purposes, and appropriate for you. We can provide you with advice concerning that. If it is, then we can have one set up for you. Through HNW Super Admin we can even look after its administration and accounting needs. Data feeds and reporting on investments within the fund are provided through ths service that are very handy and efficient, while still giving you full functionality with regard to a wide range of investments.
Give us a call today, and we would be happy to discuss this with you.
Can a SMSF invest in anything?
The short answer is "no." There are regulations that apply to any super fund, such as the sole purpose test, and the investment must comply. So, for example, your SMSF cannot purchase a home for you to live in, or even a holiday property that earns an income but is available for you to use at certain times.
However, the range of things that a self-managed superannuation fund can invest in is certainly far wider than other types of superannuatin funds. That includes direct residential or commercial property, physical precious metals and a host of tangible things.
Should my SMSF have a corporate trustee?
A self-managed superannuation fund needs to either have all of its members function as trustees, or have a company as trustee which has all of the members as directors. Given that it costs considerably more to include the setup of a company as trustee, is it worthwhile?
First of all, if you are investing in direct property, you definitely want a corporate trustee. If the members change, it's just too difficult and costly to change a title on a property. With a corporate trustee, the title doesn't change. The changes are simply in the control of the company.
The same principle applies for other investments. They are a bit easier to change, but it still raises a host of questions regarding capital gains tax and stamp duty in some situations. So generally, a corporate trustee is recommended.