Actuarial research house Rice Warner has updated its advice to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on the viability and treatment of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
Rice Warner provided a report to ASIC back in 2013 and had updated its findings to take account of the current situation. After having undertaken work on behalf of the SMSF Association, Rice Warner suggested that work done by the Productivity Commission on SMSF viability which was used by ASIC was wrong.
In its updated findings, Rice Warner said that it hoped that ASIC would take both its updated analysis and the latest Australian Taxation Office (ATO) statistics when it reviewed its guidance on SMSFs.
In wrapping up its latest review, Rice Warner said the range of service offerings used by SMSFs and the wide range of their costs meant that a simplistic focus on the size of their asset holdings was an inadequate and insufficient approach to assessing whether a particular trustee had received appropriate advice.
It said: “A more nuanced approach is definitely called for when seeking to determine whether an SMSF is in the best interests of members:
The costs of investing in complex assets should not be held over those who do not invest in these assets.
An SMSF with a modest balance invested in listed instruments by the trustee directly is not in the same position as an SMSF with the same balance invested via an expensive portfolio management service.
Even if starting small, will the SMSF grow within a reasonable time frame. If the intention is to move to an SMSF, for those able to make large contributions, there are tax advantages to moving with a smaller balance rather than waiting for a larger balance in a few years.
An SMSF does not have to be the cheapest option to be competitive.
The presence of insurance, its coverage and costs, is dependent on the personal circumstances of members irrespective of the size of the asset pool.”