ATO Looking to Challenge SMSF Trustees About Lack of Diversification


In a rare attempt to guide SMSF Trustees in how they should or shouldn’t invest the ATO has issued a news release about their intention to approach trustees who they believe have not got sufficient diversification in their SMSF portfolio. So it is time to review your strategy if biased to one asset class.

Does your SMSF investment strategy meet diversification requirements?

At the end of August 2019 the ATO intend to contact about 17,700 self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees and their auditors where their records indicate the SMSF may be holding 90% or more of its funds in one asset or a single asset class.

They are concerned some trustees haven’t given due consideration to diversifying their fund‚Äôs investments; this can put the fund‚Äôs assets at risk.

They say further in the release that “Lack of diversification or concentration risk, can expose the SMSF and its members to unnecessary risk if a significant investment fails.

We’ll ask trustees to review their investment strategy and clearly document the reasons behind the investment decisions.

We‚Äôll also ask trustees to have their documentation ready for their SMSF‚Äôs approved auditor for their next audit to help the auditor form an opinion on the fund‚Äôs compliance with these¬†requirements.”

 

So what can you do:

It’s a time to be pro-active and not wait for the contact. Review your investment strategy and reasoning now and make sure it will stand up to scrutiny

6 Key Considerations for your SMSF Investment Strategy

Review the ATO guidance on Investment Strategies in a blog I did here:

SMSF Investment Strategy Explained

Understand exactly what your SMSF invest in:

What can my SMSF invest in?

Ideas on diversification that may help you understand why you need to diversify or to back your personal reasons for limiting your exposure to specific classes:

Best Performing Asset Class Annually for Last 20 Years

SMSF Investing ‚Äď Understanding Home Country¬†Bias

The added value of franking credits in a SMSF Portfolio

Understanding Currency Exposure When Investing Overseas in your SMSF

Are SMSF Investors really comparing Hybrids vs. Company Shares?

Everything you need to know about Property in a SMSF

BITCOIN, DOLLARS, GOLD: What Is the Future of Money?

SMSFs ‚Äď allocation to international¬†shares

How can you add diversification simply and cost effectively:

This is not a recommendation as you need to understand your own needs and that of your SMSF and to do your own research or get advice. this is just one example of how to access a broad diversification in a easy and cost effective manner.

Vanguard Diversified ETFs ‚Äď A Game Changer for SMSF Portfolio¬†Design

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why not contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA‚ĄĘ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor‚ĄĘ

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02„ÄÄ98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

What information do I need to provide for my SMSF Audit


At the end of each financial year your Self-Managed Super Fund will need to be audited by an independent third-party SMSF auditor. 

Having your SMSF audited¬†isn’t¬†exactly exciting, but it is an essential part of the compliance process. Looking to save money on the audit by going for a cheap service may come back to bite so I always recommend paying a decent fee to an experienced auditor is worthwhile. If they are not doing at least 25 audits a year then don‚Äôt use them as experience is crucial and it is necessary to have knowledge of what to look for and how to guide you the ultimate client.

The SMSF audit involves a review of your fund and the strategies and transactions during the year to ensure it remains a ‚Äėcomplying fund‚Äô in line with the ATO‚Äôs definition.

Who can audit my SMSF?

Your SMSF can only be audited by an approved SMSF auditor.  SMSF auditors are most commonly qualified accountants; however there are some additional requirements.

Members of the following organisations are qualified SMSF auditors:

  • SMSF Specialist Auditors, accredited by the¬†SMSF Professionals‚Äô Association of Australia (My personal preference)
  • CPA Australia
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • National Institute of Accountants
  • Association of Taxation and Management Accountants
  • Fellows of the¬†National Tax and Accountants Association Ltd

SMSF Specialist Auditors, as appointed by the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia, are also qualified to complete this important SMSF function.

SMSF Audit Check-list

The person performing the SMSF audit will require a number of documents and may seek these from your Administrator, accountant or directly from you the Trustees.  The auditor will generally have a standard SMSF audit check-list, however the following will give you some guidance on what you are generally asked to provide:

  • Financial statements of the fund.
  • Cash Management and Bank statements for all fund accounts including Cheque, Savings and Term Deposits.
  • Managed fund /Wrap annual transaction and income report.
  • Share Broker‚Äôs statement showing all transactions.
  • Holding statements for all shares held during the year and the end of year balance.
  • Buy & sell contracts for all shares held during the year including Off Market Transfers and any corporate actions.
  • Statements showing clearly the ownership of all fixed interest securities like bonds, hybrids and notes.
  • Contracts for any property purchased or sold
  • Copy of the Title deed showing evidence of ownership for any property in the correct name.
  • Property valuations and updated if starting a new pension.
  • Building & Liability insurance certificates of currency
  • Lease agreements and rental income statements
  • Documentation for any art or collectables including evidence of Insurance in the name of the SMSF.
  • Details of any debts owed by the SMSF including loan statements showing repayments
  • Documentation of any related party loans or investments
  • Confirmation of any contributions or withdrawals
  • Confirmation that the member is eligible for contributions or meets a condition of release for withdrawals
  • Pension or lump sum benefits payment details including copies of Pension Agreements and minutes.
  • Information on any ¬†other investments not mentioned.
  • Completed SMSF Investment Strategy in writing including consideration of members’ insurance needs.

This is not an exhaustive list and your SMSF auditor may require additional documentation.

For further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our Castle Hill SMSF Centre or Windsor Financial Planning Office. While we are not auditors we can point you in the right direction of people you can trust.

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, put on your Facebook page if you found information helpful.

Liam Shorte¬†B.Bus SSA‚ĄĘ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor‚ĄĘ

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02„ÄÄ98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Superannuation ‚ÄĒ tax certainty for deceased estates – Government MYEFO announcement good for SMSFs


The release of draft taxation ruling TR 2011/D3 in July last year caused much concern when it suggested that the pension exemption ceases automatically upon death (unless a reversionary pension was in place).

Under those proposed rules if an SMSF member died with assets carrying unrealised Capital Gains, even if the deceased were receiving a pension, upon death the pension would cease (unless the pension qualified as an auto-reversionary pension). If SMSF assets were then sold/transferred, the SMSF would have CGT implications.¬† (more…)

Are SMSF Investors really comparing Hybrids vs. Company Shares?


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Every article I  read at the moment the commentators are more and more sceptical about the recent issues of Australian listed hybrids and notes. They constantly compare the hybrid against the equity in the actual shares of the issuer.

And yes I have been saying to younger clients who wanted to invest that I personally would buy the shares of the blue chip issuers, not the hybrid, because the successful hybrid issue shifts risk from equity investors to the hybrid investors and if you are going to take long-term risk then get recompensed for it from the  issuer.

Yet the majority of people buying these hybrids are not my younger clients and they probably don’t look at the case for hybrids vs. shares. They are my SMSF Retiree and Pre Retiree clients. They look at the investment case of hybrids vs. their HISA (High Interest Savings Accounts) rates and term deposit rates. I know from these clients the majority of the demand for Australian hybrids has come from maturing term deposits and falling interest rates as the RBA cuts.

The banks and their advisers have worked out these ‚Äúyield plays‚ÄĚ seem to be in favour and hybrid issuance is increasing as term deposit and cash rates fall. They are tempting clients to put some of their ‚Äúdefensive portfolio‚ÄĚ in to this sector rather than trying to grab some of the Share portfolio allocation.

Commentators say that the banks who are the main issuers are getting the best deal and yes their ratings have been improving when they finalise these issues.

They recommend that you buy the Shares in these companies rather than the ‚Äúmutton dressed up as lamb‚ÄĚ hybrids.

Christopher Joye in the SMH provided the following as an example where he compared the results using CBA PERLS IV vs. CBA Shares themselves over the period July 2007 to July 2012. Yes, with hindsight, you would be far better off owning the shares but they miss the point. Regardless of the outcome many SMSF trustees have a lower risk tolerance and they would be content with the returns from the PERLS IV (25.4% over 5 tumultuous years) during that period while they may have had a meltdown if in the CBA shares during the highlighted volatile period July 07-Mar ’09.

The other point I should make is that clients are making much smaller risk adjusted plays in these hybrids by quality issuers only and are willing to hold to maturity. When they have  a $100K Term Deposit maturing they are placing 10K-30K in to one or two of these hybrids and putting the rest back on Term Deposits. It is recognition that these hybrids do carry more risk and that they understand that risk.

Their aim is not to attain equity like returns but an average portfolio income in the 5.5-6% mark and that can no longer be achieved by cash and TDs alone. So yes they are taking on more risk to achieve their objectives but they are not being silly and getting over exposed. That is why we have avoided Crown, Caltex, Bendigo & Adelaide and even SunCorp issuances.

So yes the Banks get the benefit of cheaper finance but SMSF investors get access to that yield, in bite sized manageable chunks that they require with less volatility than the underlying share. The risks in hybrids are not to be scoffed at but if you do your home work, understand the risk, keep the allocations small and think long term, then they may have a place in your portfolio.

If you want to read more about hybrids generally, the ASX has produced a guide ‚Äď Understanding hybrid securities ‚Äď that you can download here.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte¬†B.Bus SSA‚ĄĘ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor‚ĄĘ

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02„ÄÄ98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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