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  • ATO releases latest SMSF statistics

    The ATO today 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 2013-14 and the September 2015 edition of the quarterly Self-Managed Superannuation Funds Statistical Report.

    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 99.5 per cent of all superannuation funds and 29 per cent of the $2 trillion in total superannuation assets in Australia,” Ms Macfarlane said.

    “The annual Overview statistics highlight some trends. For example, in the five years to 2014-15 we have seen the number of SMSFs grow by 27 per cent to 557,000, with total assets worth $590 billion.”

    “For the first time the average assets of SMSFs grew to over $1 million in 2014, a growth of 23 per cent over five years.”

    “In 2013-14, SMSFs also experienced a positive return on assets of 9.8 per cent, the fifth consecutive year of positive returns. This is in line with the trend of positive returns on investment also achieved by APRA funds of more than four members.”

    Speaking about the growing number of SMSFs entering pension phase, Ms Macfarlane said that while the majority of SMSFs are in accumulation phase, in the last five years the ATO had seen an increase of eight per cent in funds moving into full pension phase.

    “This shift is reflected by the growth of 32 per cent in SMSF members receiving benefits payments from their fund over the same five year period. The 2013-14 financial year also saw a rise in total benefit payments to over $30 billion.”

    “We continue to see a rise in the proportion of SMSFs with borrowings, from 2.3 per cent of funds in 2010 to 6.7 per cent of funds in 2014. At June 2014, SMSF borrowings were equivalent to 2.3 per cent of total SMSF assets as compared to 1.9 per cent at June 2013,” Ms Macfarlane said.

    “Limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) represent a portion of these total borrowings. The value of assets held by SMSFs under LRBAs as a proportion of total SMSF assets remained relatively low in 2013-14 at approximately 2.7 per cent.”

    Ms Macfarlane said those looking at LBRA statistics in the September 2015 quarterly report may notice an increase in the estimated value of SMSF assets held under LBRAs.

    “To improve the accuracy of reporting of assets held under LRBAs, for the September 2015 quarter, the ATO has refined the methodology used to estimate growth in the value of LRBAs,” Ms Macfarlane said.

    Ms Macfarlane said ATO analysis of SMSF annual return data shows LRBA real property assets, both residential and non-residential, make up the majority of the total value of assets acquired under these arrangements. The use of property indices returns is the most relevant indicator to use for these estimates.

    “The revised LRBA figures in the September 2015 quarterly report are largely due to the change in methodology, resulting in revisions of previously reported statistics of LRBA assets, in particular the figure reported for the June 2015 quarter, which has increased from $15.6 billion to $17.8 billion, an upward revision of 2.2 billion,” Ms Macfarlane said.

    As at the September 2015 quarter, SMSF assets held under LRBAs are estimated at approximately $18 billion, representing approximately three per cent of total SMSF assets of $576 billion.

    The September 2015 edition of the quarterly Self-Managed Superannuation Funds Statistical Report is now available online:

    For a copy of the Self-Managed Superannuation Funds: A Statistical Overview 2013-14 go to:

    The next edition of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds: A Statistical Overview for the 2014-15 financial year is expected to be released in December 2016.

    Last modified: 17 Dec 2015QC 47604