Six-member SMSFs a step closer

The passing of the legislation to give effect to the increase in the maximum number of SMSF members from four to six is a step closer following the Senate Economics Legislation Committee’s recommendation that the Bill be passed.

The Committee tabled its report this week after the Bill was referred to the Committee for inquiry on 3 September 2020.

Commenting on the Committee’s recommendation, SMSF Association CEO, John Maroney, says: “Given the Committee comprised members of the major and minor parties, it was the strongest indication yet that this measure should be passed by the Parliament.

“In our submission, which was referenced by the inquiry, we said increasing the maximum number of SMSF members from four to six would provide additional flexibility and choice in the superannuation system for those in a position to use it.

“We also said this measure may lead to lower superannuation fees and could improve the ability to pool balances and invest in a greater choice of assets. So, we are pleased the Committee has recommended that this Bill be passed.”

However, Mr Maroney noted the concerns raised by the Labor Senators on the Committee and their recommendation that the Government should act on the Productivity Commission’s recommendation and require providers of SMSF advice to have completed specialist SMSF training.

“We acknowledge the concerns raised by the Labor Senators in their dissenting report.

“It has been the SMSF Association’s long-held policy position that SMSF advice should be underpinned by specialist education requirements, and it has been pleasing to see the number of advisers completing the SMSF Association’s SMSF Specialist Advisor Accreditation program increasing in recent times,” Maroney says.

Although the Parliament is set to resume this week, and there are still 12 sitting days left before the end of this calendar year, it is not yet clear whether the Bill will be passed by then.

“It is possible this Bill could be debated and passed by both houses before the end of this month, but with the Government having a full legislative agenda, it’s also possible this Bill may not be passed by both houses until the new year,” Maroney says.

Once passed, the increase in the maximum number of SMSF members from four to six will apply from the first day of the first quarter after the Bill receives Royal Assent.