This year’s report reflects a period of uncertainty for SMSF trustees recently, particularly in the lead up to the federal election with the Australian Labor Party’s proposed policy to remove refundable franking credits from Australian shares.
The SMSF sector represented around $747 billion in retirement savings as at March 2019, growing at a slower pace than the preceding 12 months following the impacts of recent industry events, this compared with $1.8 trillion invested with APRA-regulated super funds.
The report delved into attitudes to other proposed changes to SMSF regulation including the increase to the maximum number of members from four to six, which more than half of advisers saw largely as a positive move, where trustees were unsure of the impact.
The proposed ban on borrowing for investment property was rejected by the financial advisers surveyed, with a majority saying it would have a negative impact on the industry. Nearly a third of trustees agreed with this sentiment.
The total number of SMSFs grew to 598,000 at the start of the year, up just two per cent from the same time last year. The average SMSF balance is $1.2 million, with report findings over recent years showing a trend of lower fund balances and younger trustee ages at the time of establishment.
Despite declining establishment rates, there is still significant appetite among Australians to set up an SMSF, with one in five super fund members planning on setting one up in the future, citing greater control and better returns as the main motivators.
In an uncertain investment climate, more SMSF trustees are taking a defensive stance in their asset allocation.
The report showed investors’ outlook for market returns was low at 1.4 per cent – this prediction sat well below the expectations of many economists, including Vanguards (who have a 10 year outlook for Australian equities of 4.5-6.5%).
Despite this, SMSF trustees remained most inclined to invest further in individual bluechip shares, with 54 per cent citing this as a likely investment choice over the next 12 months.
SMSFs’ allocation to cash increased slightly over the past year to 25 per cent, largely at the expense of unlisted managed funds which dropped by two per cent.
While many SMSFs have adopted a defensive mindset, their appetite for diversifying investment products has increased.
This is highlighted by SMSFs’ use of exchange traded funds (ETFs) with the number currently investing, or planning to invest in ETFs in the year ahead, surging from 140,000 to 194,000 in the last 12 months.
The findings also showed that SMSFs are seeking greater exposure to overseas assets, especially through ETFs, however 52 per cent of respondents cite lack of knowledge about overseas markets and currency risk as the top barriers to obtaining more exposure.
Looking forward, while building a sustainable income stream remains a key investment goal for many SMSFs, a growing proportion (15 per cent) say protecting their assets against market falls will be their key focus for the year ahead.
Written by Robin Bowerman
Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.
16 July 2019
For more than 20 years, Sam has been a financial planner helping individuals and families achieve their financial planning goals, by providing advice on Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning; and Estate Planning. Working with a network of highly skilled professionals in Sydney he is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and integrated wealth management solutions that simplify and enhance the quality of his clients' lives.
Sam established his own firm in 1997 and has overseen its steady development and growth. Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of his appreciation by his clients. He has built long-term relationships with his growing client base and aims to provide excellent customer service.
Sam began his financial planning career in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991. Since this time he has accumulated many professional qualifications such as:
Sam has volunteered with the Cancer Council of NSW and can be seen almost every year volunteering or participating in the 7 bridges walk.
Away from the business, he enjoys spending weekends with his son. He is also a football (soccer) tragic and is a massive Chelsea FC fan.
Having worked for national financial planning companies in the past, George has extensive experience in the provision of advice in risk insurance, investments and retirement planning and is focused on forming long-term relationships with his clients.
George has been awarded a Masters of Commerce (Financial Planning) and a Bachelor of Commerce through University of Western Sydney as well as having the Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).
Jane Lim is a friendly character with a bubbly personality. She has the unique ability of making complex information sound simple and easy to digest.
Jane entered the financial services industry in 2006, and worked with big blue-chip financial companies such as Count Financial Limited and AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd.
She holds a Master's degree in Applied Finance through Macquarie University, and she is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Being a self-confessed "tennis nut", Jane spends many weeknights in the tennis court, and is a frequent member of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Tennis Competition.
Being a highly motivated professional, Jane is always eager to help her clients on a wide range of financial planning needs.
Paul has been a financial planner for over 15 years helping individuals and families successfully achieve their financial planning goals. He is very focused on building successful long-term harmonious relationships with his clients.
He provides a holistic approach on various aspects of financial advice encompassing areas such as Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning and has extensive experience and knowledge in these fields.
Paul's professional qualifications are:
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Christian is passionate in providing excellent customer service by being attentive to client’s need as well as being able to circumnavigate challenges.
He holds a Master's degree in Commerce specialising in Marketing through the University of New South Wales.
Volunteering is one of his delights in life, where he had spent time being involved with the Centre for Volunteering, St Vincent de Paul's Society, and Sculpture by the Sea in a variety of positions.
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Outside of work, Jenny focuses her efforts on karate and ice hockey. She can often be found coaching and practicing karate at her alma mater. The rest of her time is spent at one of Sydney’s many ice rinks playing, practicing, or officiating ice hockey.
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