The appropriateness and desirability of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are matters for clients and their advisers to work out, and ought not be determined by Government reports or industry bodies utilising generalised figures, according to the chief executive, of automated investment management company, Six Park, Pat Garrett.
Writing in a column, Garrett argued that notwithstanding its good intentions the recent Productivity Commission (PC) report into superannuation had unfairly singled out SMSFs and had therefore risked tarnishing what could actually be the best option for many Australians looking to maximise their superannuation.
Discussing the PC, he wrote that there had been much discussion about whether or not a minimum balance for SMSFs would be recommended, with many predicting the Commission would set the benchmark at $1 million.
“Thankfully, the final report didn’t end up recommending a minimum fund size but there were references to SMSFs under $500,000 with question marks placed over their performance. This is both frustrating and an overly simplistic conclusion,” he wrote.
“Each client is different and should be treated as such. A SMSF may not be the best choice for someone with $1 million but it could be the perfect solution for someone with under $200,000 – or vice versa! Or for two people who look almost identical on paper, a SMSF might be right for one and not the other depending on their future needs, timeframes and risk preferences,” Garrett wrote. “That’s for advisors to help their clients figure out – not for reports, industry bodies or governments to infer by utilising generalised figures that do not present apples-for-apples analysis.”
He said the PC report’s recommendations were based in part on costings that didn’t consider newer, more cost-effective and professional services that exist in the industry.
“Whether via an advisor or using online administration and/or investment management, there are options out there now that significantly reduce the costs of running a SMSF – and these options seem to have been entirely overlooked in the Commission’s figures and assumptions,” Garrett claimed.
“High fees and poor diversification have been the primary causes of poorer performance in smaller-balance SMSFs in the past, but technology is now allowing people to create SMSFs that are internationally diversified and expertly managed at a lower cost point,” he wrote. “By not factoring in these developments, the report is not accurately representing what’s possible with a SMSF set-up today. “