Tag Archives: Super

When did you last review your SMSF’s investment strategy?

You may be aware that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued letters to nearly 18,000 SMSF trustees as part of a campaign to ensure trustees are aware of their investment obligations.

Of key concern is ensuring that trustees have considered diversification and liquidity of their assets when formulating and executing their fund’s investment strategy.

Importantly, it must be noted that the ATO letters are not an attempt to regulate and limit the control and freedom that SMSF trustees have but rather ensuring that if trustees wish to invest their assets in a certain way that they must clearly articulate their reasons for doing so.

An investment strategy should be considering the SMSF’s blueprint when dealing with the fund’s assets to ensure the SMSF’s investment objectives and members’ goals are met. It provides the parameters to ensure you invest your money in accordance with that strategy. This is where the ATO has a primary function to ensure that trustees act in accordance with these obligations.

An SMSF investment strategy must take into account the following items:

  • The risks involving in making, holding and realising the SMSFs investments, their expected return and cash flow requirements of your SMSF.
  • The diversification and composition of your SMSF investments.
  • The liquidity of your SMSF investments, having regard to expected cash flow requirements.
  • The SMSFs ability to pay your current and future liabilities, including benefits to the members.
  • Considering whether to hold insurance cover for each member of your SMSF.

An important requirement for you as trustee of your SMSF is to have an investment objective and a strategy to achieve that objective in place, before you start to make decisions about how you want to invest your SMSF money.

Of equal importance is that the investment objective and strategy is not set in stone. You can choose to change the investment objectives you have set for your SMSF at any time.

It’s not uncommon for SMSFs with lower member balances to find diversification a challenge as there is limited money to invest. Nonetheless, you are still required to demonstrate that you adequately understand and mitigate the associated investment risks.

If you find yourself in this position, it is important your investment strategy reflects these risks.

For example, if you have invested in a large illiquid asset such as real property which may form the majority of your fund, it is timely to ensure your strategy reflects the concentration and liquidity risk associated with this investment.

Where you have in place an adequate investment strategy that deals with these risks and can provide the necessary evidence to support your investment decisions, no further action is expected.

Where your fund has not complied with its investment strategy requirements under superannuation law, you may be liable to administrative penalties being imposed by the ATO, as Regulator of the SMSF sector.

Your investment strategy does need to be reviewed at least once a year and this will be evidenced by your approved SMSF auditor. It is also important to review your strategy whenever the circumstances of any of your members change or as often as you feel it is necessary. The following practical tips will help you keep on top of your obligations:

  • Put your investment objective and strategy in writing
  • Set an investment objective that you can comfortably achieve with the underlying investments you are comfortable to invest in
  • There is no template for an investment object and strategy, but make sure they reflect how you intend to invest your SMSF money
  • The investments you actually make must be accommodated by the investment strategy you have set
  • Most importantly, document your actions and decisions, as well as your reasons, and keep them as a record in order to demonstrate that you have indeed satisfied your obligations as a trustee in this important area

COVID-19 – The Government’s economic stimulus packages explained

Over the past two weeks the Government has announced two economic stimulus packages to cushion the economic impact of the Coronavirus.

A total of $189 billion is being injected into the economy by all arms of Government in order to keep Australians in work and businesses in business.

This includes $17.6 billion for the Government’s first economic stimulus package, $90 billion from the RBA and $15 billion from the Government to deliver easier access to finance, and $66.1 billion in yesterday’s economic support package.

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Superannuation death benefit limitations

As an SMSF trustee, you need to take special care when paying death benefits as you are responsible for ensuring that the payment rules are met. Strict rules apply, affecting who can receive a death benefit, the form in which the death benefit can be paid and the timing of such a payment.

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Superannuation death benefits – review succession plans

Regardless of the size of your superannuation benefits, it is vital that you sort out your estate plans to ensure that you have a well prepared estate plan so that the right assets go to the right beneficiaries.  You need to make sure that you get holistic estate planning advice and have arrangements in place to review your estate plans regularly. Estate plans are not to be set and forgotten.

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Superannuation death benefit limitations

As an SMSF trustee, you need to take special care when paying death benefits as you are responsible to ensure that the payment rules are met. Strict rules apply, affecting who can receive a death benefit, the form in which the death benefit can be paid and the timing of such a payment.

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On 1 July 2019 your insurance cover may be changing!

In February this year, the Government passed legislation which prevents trustees of APRA-regulated funds from providing insurance to members with inactive superannuation accounts, unless a member has directed otherwise.

It is a common practice for many individuals with an SMSF to also have a secondary APRA-regulated fund which provides them with insurance.

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Is your SMSF adequately diversified?

SMSF trustees need to truly understand diversification and better diversify their portfolios.

The benefits of a well-diversified portfolio are numerous but the key ones that SMSF trustees should focus on are the benefits of mitigating volatility and short-term downside investment risks, preserving capital and the long-run benefits of higher overall returns. By spreading an SMSF’s investments across different asset classes and markets offering different risks and returns, SMSFs can better position themselves for a secure retirement.

However, did you know that 82% of SMSF trustees believe that diversification is important but in practice many do not achieve it?

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Stellar Super Pty Ltd and Brooke Hepburn-Rogers have been shortlisted for SMSF and Accounting Awards 2018

The adviser and firm from Canberra are officially in the running to take home 4 awards at the prestigious SMSF and accounting event of the year.

Stellar Super joins the roster of finalists to win SMSF Firm of the Year at the SMSF and Accounting Awards 2018. The first-of-its-kind, the nationwide industry event recognises state-based performance in SMSF and accounting professions across Australia.

Brooke Hepburn-Rogers is a finalist to win:

– SMSF Adviser of the Year

– SMSF Accounting Professional of the Year – Metro

– SMSF Specialist Accountant of the Year

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