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  • ATO annual SMSF statistics show positive return on assets

    Today the ATO released its latest statistics on the self-managed super fund (SMSF) sector with the publication of the annual Self-Managed Superannuation Funds: A Statistical Overview 2015-16.

    Assistant Commissioner Kasey Macfarlane said the annual overview data shows that the sector continues to grow, with positive returns on assets and increasing fund and member numbers.

    “SMSFs account for 99.6% of all superannuation funds and 30% of the $2.3 trillion in total superannuation assets in Australia,” Ms Macfarlane said.

    “The annual statistics highlight the growth of the SMSF sector. In the five years to 2016–17 we have seen the number of SMSFs grow by 26% to 597,000, with total assets worth $697 billion.”

    “In 2015–16, SMSFs also experienced a positive return on assets of 2.9%. SMSFs have experienced annual positive growth for the five years to 2016 and are in line with the return on investment achieved by APRA funds of more than four members. In 2015–16 both SMSFs and APRA funds report the same return of 2.9%.

    “This year we revised our data set used to determine SMSF trustee structure. Last year we reported 77% of SMSFs had an individual trustee structure, however moving to this more reliable data set has resulted in significant changes At 30 June 2017, 57% of SMSFs had a corporate trustee.”

    Ms Macfarlane said the data shows some interesting trends in relation to SMSF member demographics and borrowings.

    “While we continue to see strong growth in average member balances overall at 26% over the last five years, female members have grown their balances at a higher rate than their male counterparts, at 30% and 22% respectively over the last five years.

    “We also continue to see a decrease in the median age of new members in newly established funds. In 2016 the median age was 47 years compared with 50 years in 2012. This tells us that more trustees are entering the SMSF sector at an earlier stage in their working life than in previous years.

    “The annual overview also reports that in 2015–16, 7% of SMSFs held assets under limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs), slightly higher than the prior year of 6%.

    “The value of estimated assets held under LRBAs as a proportion of total SMSF assets remained relatively low in 2015–16 at approximately 4%. Additionally we continue to see that real property assets make up over 90% of the total value of LRBA investments by SMSFs.

    “SMSF LRBA assets are supported by borrowings. Our current data cannot distinguish the level of total borrowings by SMSFs related to LRBAs specifically. At June 2016, the estimated value of total SMSF borrowings were equivalent to 3% of total SMSF assets. The proportion of SMSFs with total borrowings increased from 4% in 2012 to 9% of funds in 2016.”

    Accompanying this release will be a feature piece focusing on the characteristics of funds that lodged their first return in 2012 and tracing where they were five years later, in 2016.

    Last modified: 18 Jan 2018QC 54398