Care must be taken when using SMSF performance figures, particularly when making comparisons. While the methodology used to estimate SMSF performance resembles APRA’s methodology, the data collected is not the same.
The estimated return on assets (ROA) for SMSFs in the year ended 30 June 2014 was positive (9.8%), continuing the trend of positive ROA over the five year period (7.7%, 7.7%, 0.4% and 10.2% for 2010 to 2013 respectively).
Graph 16 shows comparisons with ROA reported for APRA funds of more than four members. The ROA for APRA funds and SMSFs shows the same trend in estimated returns for the five years to 2015 (APRA reported 9.3%, 8.1%, 0.4%, 14.0% and 11.7% respectively).31
Graph 16: Average return on assets for SMSFs and APRA funds
Graph 17 shows the proportion of SMSFs by their estimated ROA, with an increase in 2014 to the proportion of funds experiencing positive ROA of greater than 0% to 10% (48% of SMSFs).
Over the five years to 2014, the majority of SMSFs experienced positive ROA (80% of SMSFs), with the exception of 2012 when most experienced negative ROA (53%).
Graph 17: SMSF return on assets
The estimated SMSF ROA continues to show a direct relationship with SMSF size. Generally, the larger the SMSF asset holding the more improved the ROA (see appendix 1, table 21).
Graph 18 shows the estimated average ROA by SMSF size for the five years to 30 June 2013. On average, SMSFs with more than $100,000 in assets had a positive ROA in 2013. By comparison, SMSFs with a positive average ROA in 2012 held greater than $1 million in assets.
Graph 18: SMSF return on assets, by fund size
31 APRA 2015, Figures for APRA funds sourced directly from APRA.