ATO statistics send positive message about SMSFs

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) annual SMSF statistics for 2016-17 tell a positive story about this $750 billion superannuation sector.

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney says: “These statistics reveal an SMSF sector that has not only performed well but provides a positive outlook for its future growth and strong performance.

“In the year under review, SMSFs made an average return of 10.2 per cent compared with a 9.1 per cent return for the APRA-regulated funds.

“At the same time the total expenses for all SMSFs fell by nine basis points, of which five basis points can be attributed to lower administrative and operating expenses, highlighting the increased use of technology and software in SMSF administration services.”
Maroney says another positive conclusion that can be drawn from this statistical review is the impact of improved adviser standards and trustee education on the SMSF sector.

“As evidence of this, the average assets when an SMSF was established in 2016-17 rose to $521,000 compared with the stable levels of $370,000 in the previous two financial years, a 38% increase.

“The median assets when an SMSF was established also rose substantially to $320,000 from the low $200,000 levels in the previous four years. From the Association’s perspective, this demonstrates that SMSF trustees are getting quality SMSF advice and that they understand the need for an appropriate-sized SMSF to ensure they get the full benefits from their fund.”

The 2016-17 financial year was the last financial year before the extensive 1 July 2017 superannuation changes, including the $1.6 million transfer balance cap, took effect, influencing SMSF member behaviour with contributions rising by $10 billion before the 30 June 2017 deadline.

Maroney says the ATO statistical survey of SMSFs plays an important role in helping present an accurate picture of the sector. “These statistics provide an important antidote to the many misconceptions about SMSFs, especially in relation to their performance and costs, as well as providing highly relevant information that can be used to improve our superannuation sector.”