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SMSF profile

Last updated 19 February 2023

See the size of the SMS sector and other details on growth, payments, structure and service providers.

Size of the SMSF sector

SMSFs make up 26% of all super assets and held $869 billion at 30 June 2022.

At 30 June 2022:

  • there were over 603,000 SMSFs, an increase of 4% on the previous year, and an increase of 8% over the 5 years from 2017–18.
  • there were over 1.123 million members of SMSFs.
  • SMSFs collectively held $868.7 billion (26%) of the $3.3 trillion in super assets under management 1.

Graph 1: Total super assets by fund type at 30 June 2017, 30 June 2021, and 30 June 2022

See the data relating to this graph in Table 2 (Australian superannuation sector) on data.gov.au.

See table 1 and table 2 of the data tables.

1 APRA June 2022 Quarterly Superannuation Performance Statistics, 23 August 2022, Key Statistics Table.

Establishments and wind-ups

In the 5 years to 2021–22, the number of SMSFs grew by an annual average of 1.5%, with an average of 24,000 new funds established annually (around 2,000 per month).

25,300 SMSFs were established in 2017–18, dropping to 20,000 in 2018–19, then growing to 27,700 in 2021–22.

Our most recent lodgment data for 2020–21 shows that:

  • average SMSF assets on establishment were $399,000, down 19% from $489,000 in 2016–17 and up 5% from $381,000 in 2019–20
  • median SMSF assets on establishment were $264,000, down 11% from $297,000 in 2016–17, and up 6% from $250,000 in 2019–20
  • more than half (64%) of SMSFs had been established for more than 10 years, while 12% had been established for 3 years or less.

Approximately 15,400 SMSFs wound up in 2020–21, compared to an annual average of 18,100 for the 5 years to 2020–21. Of the SMSFs that wound up in 2020–21:

  • the average assets held in the year before wind-up was $502,000, up from $374,000 for funds that wound up in 2016–17, and $476,000 for funds that wound up in 2019–20
  • the median assets held in the year before wind-up was $320,000, up from $200,000 for funds that wound up in 2016–17 and $281,000 for funds that wound up in 2019–20
  • 36% reported assets of $200,000 or less in the year before their wind-up, down from 50% of funds that wound up in 2016–17, and 40% of funds that wound up in 2019–20
  • 56% were in accumulation phase and 44% were in retirement phase
  • the average period from establishment to wind-up was 12.8 years.

See table 1, table 3, table 4, table 6 and table 7 of the data tables.

Growth of SMSF assets

Over the 5 years to 2020–21, average assets per fund increased by 25% to $1.5 million and average assets per member increased by 26% to $791,000.

At 30 June 2022, SMSF assets totalled $868.7 billion 2.This represents an increase of $185.6 billion, or 27%, in the 5 years to 30 June 2022.

In the 12 months from the 2021 to the 2022 financial year, SMSF assets grew by $25 billion, or 3%.

At 30 June 2021:

  • SMSFs had assets of almost $1.5 million on average, up 15% from the previous year and 25% from 2016–17
  • the median SMSF asset size was $835,000, up 18% from the previous year and 30% from 2016–17.

See table 2 and table 5 of the data tables.

2 ATO, Self-managed super fund quarterly statistical report – June 2022.

Contributions, rollovers and benefit payments

Contributions

SMSF contributions were $18.9 billion in 2020–21 or 13% of all super contributions. This is an increase of 8% from 2019–20 to 2020–21 and a decrease of 52% in the 5 years to 2020–21.

  • Total contributions to SMSFs were $18.9 billion in 2020–21, an 8% increase from $17.5 billion in 2019–20, and a 52% decrease from $39.1 billion in 2016–17.
  • Member contributions rose by 11% to $13.5 billion from $12.1 billion in 2019–20.
  • Employer contributions remained steady at $5.4 billion from 2019–20 to 2020–21.
  • The level of contributions is well below 2016–17 when member contributions were $32.2 billion and total contributions were $39.1 billion. This is largely attributed to the lowering of the contribution caps from the 2017–18 year.
  • Average member contributions increased to $57,000 from $53,000 in 2019–20. Median member contributions rose from $20,000 to $23,000 over the same period.
  • Average employer contributions remained the same at $19,000 in 2019–20 and 2020–21. Median employer contributions also remained constant at $16,000 over the same period.

Graph 2: Split of contributions to SMSFs by type and total, 2016–17 to 2020–21

See the data relating to this graph in Table 8 (Total SMSF contributions ($m)) on data.gov.au.

In 2020–21, total contributions to SMSFs accounted for 13% of all super contributions made in the superannuation sector 3, with:

  • member contributions to SMSFs accounting for 32% of member contributions to all super accounts
  • employer contributions to SMSFs accounting for 5% of employer contributions to all super accounts.

A new label for proceeds from primary residence disposal was introduced to the 2018–19 SMSF annual return to capture data on trustees utilising the Downsizer measure. These contributions are included with member contributions.

  • In 2019–20, 2,606 members of SMSFs reported a total of $664 million at this label. The average contribution per member was $255,000 and the median was $300,000.
  • In 2020–21, 2,817 members reported a total of $725 million at the proceeds from primary residence disposal label. The average contribution per member was $257,000 and the median was $300,000.
3 APRA, Annual Superannuation Bulletin, June 2021, table 2.

Graph 3: Contributions to SMSFs as a proportion of the superannuation sector by type and total, 2016–17 to 2020–21

See the data relating to this graph in Table 8 (Contributions to SMSFs as a proportion of total superannuation contributions) on data.gov.au.

Rollovers

Rollovers reported in 2020–21 include:

  • $13.1 billion rolled into SMSFs, up 7% from 2019–20 and down 24% from 2016–17
  • $9.8 billion rolled out of SMSFs, up 8% from 2019–20, and up 16% from 2016–17.

Benefit payments

SMSF benefit payments were $31.4 billion in 2020–21 and 33% of SMSF members received a benefit payment. There was a 1% decrease from 2019–20 to 2020–21 and a 25% decrease in the 5 years to 2020–21. Over the 5 years to 2020–21, total transition to retirement income stream benefit payments decreased by 6%.

Benefit payments include lump sum, income stream, transition to retirement and a combination of payments.

Total SMSF benefit payments were $31.4 billion in 2020–21, a drop of 1% from $31.7 billion in 2019–20, and by 25% from $42.0 billion in 2016–17.

In 2020–21:

  • The average benefit payment per SMSF was $100,000, a 6% drop from 2019–20 and a 31% decrease from 2016–17
  • The median benefit payment per SMSF was $47,000, a 13% decrease from 2019–20 and a 29% decrease from 2016–17
  • The number of SMSF members receiving a benefit payment dropped by 15% from 2019–20 and by 17% from 2016–17
  • 58% of total benefit payments by SMSFs were in the form of an income stream, including transition to retirement income streams
  • Transition to retirement income streams made up 1.9% of total benefit payments, down from 2.6% in the previous year and 8.4% in 2016–17.

Over the 5 years to 30 June 2021, there was an overall net outflow of funds from SMSFs of $79.7 billion. This was mainly due to significantly higher benefit payments against contributions from the 2017–18 year onwards.

Graph 4: Benefit payments from SMSFs by type and total, 2016–17 to 2020–21

See the data relating to this graph in Table 10 (Total SMSF benefit payments by type and value) on data.gov.au.

See table 8, table 9, table 10 and table 11 of the data tables.

SMSFs by payment phase

At 30 June 2021, 55% of SMSFs were in accumulation phase, 36% were in retirement phase and 9% were partial (members in both accumulation and retirement phases).

In 2020–21:

  • 55% of SMSFs were wholly in accumulation phase, down from 58% in 2019–20, and 59% in 2016–17
  • 36% were wholly in retirement phase, up from 33% in 2019–20 and 30% in 2016–17
  • the remaining 9% of SMSFs were in partial accumulation and retirement phase, consistent with 2019–20, and down from 11% in 2016–17
  • 45% of SMSFs made retirement benefit payments to at least one member in 2020–21, up from 42% in 2019–20, and 41% in 2016–17
  • of the SMSFs that started to make retirement benefit payments, 73% of the funds were more than 5 years old and 8% were less than 2 years old.

See table 12 and table 13 of the data tables.

SMSF structure

There were 66% corporate and 34% individual SMSF structures at June 2022.

At 30 June 2022, 66% of all SMSFs had a corporate trustee 4. This is compared to new registrations during the 2021–22 year when 86% of SMSFs were established with a corporate trustee.

SMSFs with 2 members continue to be the dominant structure, accounting for 69% of SMSFs at 30 June 2021. SMSFs with a single member made up 24% of funds. Those with 3 and 4 members make up 3% and 4% of SMSFs respectively 5.

From 1 July 2021, SMSFs have been permitted to register up to 6 members. Data regarding this change is not yet available and will be published in future SMSF statistical publications.

See table 14 of the data tables.

4 Based on registrations and ABR data.
5 Self-managed super fund quarterly statistical report – June 2022.

Service providers

There were 3,900 SMSF auditors and 13,800 tax agents providing services to meet SMSF tax and regulatory obligations for 2020–21.

In 2020–21:

  • SMSFs used the services of around 3,900 SMSF auditors and 13,800 tax agents
  • 44% of SMSF auditors performed 5 to 50 SMSF audits, and 23% of SMSF auditors performed 51 to 250 audits.
  • 8% of SMSF auditors conducted more than 250 audits, representing 68% of total SMSF audits
  • the average audit fee was $640, and the median audit fee was $550
  • 99% of SMSFs used a tax agent to lodge their 2020–21 SMSF annual return. For these agents, the average number of SMSF clients was 30 and the median was 9.

See table 15, table 16 and table 17 of the data tables.

Auditor Contravention Reports

The number of auditor contravention reports (ACRs) reported by approved SMSF auditors was 2.8% of the total number of lodging SMSFs 6.

  • In 2021–22, ACRs were lodged for 13,600 SMSFs, reporting 40,000 contraventions. Just under half (46%) of all contraventions were reported as rectified.
  • The most commonly reported contraventions continued to be loans or financial assistance to members (20%), in-house assets (17%) and separation of assets (13%). 

See table 18 of the data tables.

6 Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2021-22 (PDF, 4.31MB)This link will download a file

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