Video transcript – Separation of assets

One of your responsibilities as a trustee is to make sure that fund assets are kept separate from your personal assets.

Not only is this a requirement under super laws but it also protects the fund’s assets from personal financial disputes, removes the risk that the assets will be used for personal use, and helps your auditor identify asset ownership.

To help meet the separation of asset rules your fund should have a separate bank account for the fund’s money.

It must also be clear that your fund is the owner of its assets. Assets must be documented as held by trustees on behalf of the SMSF.

The assets of the fund cannot be held in the name of a trustee alone.

Meet Judy. Judy purchased shares using money from her fund, but accidentally put them in her own name, instead of the SMSF’s name. Judy always intended to get this fixed, but as time passed by - it slipped her mind. Judy lost her job recently and fell behind in her mortgage repayments, so the bank took Judy to court.

Because the shares are in Judy’s name, she was forced to sell them to pay off the debt. This means her fund has now lost a valuable asset! Judy’s auditor reports to the ATO that the fund has breached super laws.

Judy’s fund could be made non-complying, meaning it could lose almost half its assets! Judy may also be disqualified from being a trustee and will have to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Her retirement plans are not looking so good!

The title on some assets such as property is subject to different State laws.

You should speak to an SMSF professional if you need help with fund asset ownership and title documents. Remember, your SMSF assets are kept separate from your own assets because they are not for your personal or business use - they are solely for your retirement.

For more SMSF information take a look at our other videos – or visit the ATO website at

    Last modified: 12 Nov 2015QC 39855