Are you truly in control of your Super?

 In Financial Planning, Insurance, News, SMSF

Self-managed super funds are gaining in popularity. But do you really know the key differences between a SMSF and a Retail Superannuation Fund?

Self-managed super funds, as the name implies, are managed and controlled by you and up to three other members. Unlike retail or ‘traditional’ super funds, which you pay a fee to have managed by a fund manager or organisation on your behalf, a SMSF means you decide the investment strategy and direction of your retirement fund. Whilst there remain technicalities and legalities involved with setting up a SMSF – which our MWL SMSF Specialists can assist with – they are generally easy to set up and simplistic in their ability to manage. The difficulties are associated with adopting the right investment strategy, which again you can gain assistance from our specialists at MWL, in order to ensure you are managing your fund in a way that reflects your future goals and your current abilities. We have developed five key differences between a SMSF and other super funds, to make the comparisons easy for those who are still unsure:



A SMSF can have between one and four individual members. All four members will be involved in the fund’s management. Conversely, other super funds generally have no limit on the number of members. Licensed trustees act as the fund managers and are responsible for its management.



Members of a SMSF are expected to have the relevant knowledge of the tax and super laws and responsibilities, and ensuring their SMSF complies. Failure to comply can lead to SMSF members being personally fined for breaches. In other super funds, any compliance risks are borne by the licensed trustee.



In a SMSF, the members are responsible for developing and implementing the fund’s investment strategy, and making all investment decisions. This gives SMSF members more flexibility in investment choices. In other super funds, you may be allowed some choice regarding the risk level of your investments, but generally will not be able to choose the specific assets to invest in.



In a SMSF, members are responsible for choosing, and organising insurance. Whilst insurance is not compulsory, it is recommended. In other super funds, insurance is generally offered to members in conjunction with the fund.



SMSF’s are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office, and are required to engage with the ATO to manage their fund and reporting. Other super funds are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Auhtority (APRA), in which members will not have to engage directly with.


Whilst these represent the core differences between a SMSF and other super funds, you may be after more specific information regarding a SMSF and your financial position, whether it is in regards to tax concessions, investments or otherwise. If that is the case, please do not hesitate to contact our SMSF specialists in Melbourne on (03) 9866 5888 or Sydney on (02) 8404 6700 and start building your retirement wealth today.

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