• Compare SMSFs with other super funds

    Members and trustees

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    Can have a maximum of four members.

    All members are either individual trustees or directors of a corporate trustee of the fund. This means all members are involved in managing the SMSF.

    Usually no limit on the number of members.

    Professional, licensed trustees are responsible for managing the fund.

    Responsibility

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    Trustees are expected to have knowledge of tax and super laws and must make sure their fund complies with those laws. Compliance risk is borne by the SMSF trustees, who can be personally fined if their fund breaches the law.

    Compliance risk is borne by the professional licensed trustee.

    Investments

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    Trustees develop and implement the fund's investment strategy, and make all investment decisions.

    Most allow you some control over the mix and risk level of your super investments but you generally can't choose the specific assets your super will be invested in.

    Insurance

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    Trustees must consider whether to purchase insurance for their members. Insurance premiums may be higher than in other super funds.

    Most offer insurance cover to members. Member insurance usually costs less as large funds can get discounted premiums.

    Regulation

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    Regulated by the ATO. Trustees are required to engage with us to manage their fund.

    Regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Generally members don't have to engage with APRA.

    Complaints/disputes

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    We are not involved in resolving disputes among members. Disagreements can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution techniques or in court, at the members' own expense. There is no government compensation scheme.

    Members have access to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and may be eligible for statutory compensation.

    Fraudulent conduct or theft

    SMSF

    Other super funds

    No government financial assistance is available to SMSFs.

    Members may have legal options under Corporations Law but there is no guarantee that compensation will be awarded.

    Members may be eligible for government financial assistance in the event of fraud or theft.

    Last modified: 29 Oct 2015QC 47220