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SMSF management

A summary of SMSF management, trustee structure and payment phase.

Last updated 15 December 2015

Trustee structure

SMSFs can be established with either a corporate trustee (if all members of the SMSF are directors of the corporate trustee) or with individual trustees (if all members of the SMSF are trustees).

At 30 June 2015, 78% of all SMSFs had individual trustees, rather than a corporate trustee (see appendix 1, table 6).

In the three years to 2015, there was a 4% decline in SMSFs registering with a corporate trustee. Of newly registered SMSFs in 2014, 95% had individual trustees.12

SMSF payment phase

For the year ended 30 June 2014, 53% of SMSFs reported they were solely in the accumulation phase, with the remaining 47% reporting they were making pension payments to some or all members, and so were considered to be in the pension phase. Of these, 11% were in partial pension phase (making payments to some members), while 36% were in full pension phase (making payments to all members) – see appendix 1, table 7.

Over the five years to 2014 there was a shift of 8% of SMSFs from being in accumulation phase to the full pension phase, while the proportion of SMSFs in the partial pension phase remains consistent.

Of SMSFs that paid a pension to their members for the first time (22,000 SMSFs each year) on average 2,800 SMSFs were in their first year of operation.13

Of SMSFs that started pension payments in 2014, approximately 48% were over five years old; 28% were under two years old (of which 10% were in their first year of operation); and 25% between two and five years.14 

Analysis shows that of funds established in the 10 years to 2014, 69% have not started making pension payments.

12 Based on registrations and ABR data.
13 Based on SMSF income tax and annual regulatory return lodged data over 10 years.
14 Based on 2014 SAR lodged data and ABR data.