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Stopping schemes to illegally access super

Find out how we are stopping schemes to illegally access super.

Last updated 10 January 2023

How we are protecting super

We're working to protect Australians' retirement savings from schemes to illegally access super by:

  • raising awareness of the risks and how to address them
  • reviewing and assessing all new self-managed super funds (SMSFs) before they can receive a registered or complying status on Super Fund Lookup (SFLU)
  • working closely with industry partners to strengthen the rollover process.

These approaches will help prevent the creation of an SMSF for the purpose of illegal access of super.

Find out more about illegal early release of super.

SMSF registration process

The SMSF registration process helps safeguard retirement savings by preventing the inappropriate establishment of SMSFs. It can take up to 56 days before an SMSF is shown on SFLU as a regulated fund.

Once a new SMSF is displayed on SFLU, it will initially be given a status of 'Registered'. This status is allocated to all SMSFs on registration and will be updated within 7 days to 'Complying' when the SMSF receives its Notice of Compliance.

An Australian business number (ABN) for the fund will be issued before the election to be regulated is processed. This means that you can use the ABN to establish a bank account for the SMSF.

If we identify a problem with a new registration, we will immediately contact the authorised contact for the SMSF.

We have updated SFLU to provide clearer information about the complying and regulatory status of SMSFs and identify SMSFs that we have concerns about.

SMSF member verification system

When Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulated funds and SMSFs receive a request to rollover their member’s super balance to an SMSF, they must use the SMSF verification service (SVS) to confirm:

  • the ABN in the request is registered as an SMSF
  • SMSF status (complying or regulated)
  • the tax file number (TFN) of the member requesting the rollover is associated with the SMSF
  • the TFN of the member requesting the rollover is not compromised
  • no verified date of death exists for that member
  • SMSF bank details in the rollover request match those held by the ATO
  • Electronic Service Address (ESA) in the rollover request matches that held by the ATO.

If a fund suspects fraud or illegal early access

When an APRA-regulated fund receives a transfer or rollover request and they suspect they're dealing with fraud or illegal early access activity, contact us by:

We will investigate all reports of suspicious transactions.

Depending on the suspicious transaction, you may also have obligations to report to Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)External Link and relevant law enforcement agencies.

Keep your SMSF details up to date with us

Keeping your details up to date with us will help reduce the risk of fraud and illegal early access.

It's also important because when someone initiates a rollover request into an SMSF, the SVS will verify the fund and member details. If the SVS indicates the SMSF doesn't have a 'registered' or 'complying' status, they will not be able to receive a rollover. If the transferring fund suspects any illegal activity, they will report it to us and may also be required to report it to relevant law enforcement agencies.

You need to ensure your SMSF membership details are recorded correctly and notify us of changes. This includes your fund's:

  • bank account
  • electronic service address.
  • trustees
  • directors of the corporate trustee
  • members
  • contact details (contact person, phone, email address and fax numbers)
  • address (postal, registered or address for service of fund notices)
  • fund status.

Alerts for changes

To safeguard retirement savings and reduce the risk of fraud, we send an email or text alert (or both) when there is a change to the SMSF's:

  • financial institution account details
  • ESA
  • authorised contact
  • members.

If you receive an alert and did not authorise or know about the changes outlined, you should take action immediately.

Phone us on 13 10 20 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday if you're concerned that without your consent or knowledge:

  • an SMSF has been established, or
  • changes have been made to your existing SMSF.

Have your TFN or ABN ready to establish your identity before you phone us.