With 600,000 self-managed super funds (SMSF) controlling $700 billion in assets, according to the latest statistics released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), it remains the market-leading super sector. It raises the question as to what makes SMSF such a popular choice.

CEO Richard Suttie

By Richard Suttie

Reason being is the many benefits that come with managing your superfund but be aware that there are factors to take in consideration. We will be taking a look at what is an SMSF, how it works and what you must know before determining if it is for you.


What exactly is self-managed super fund?

In short, it is a private superannuation fund, regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that you manage yourself. SMSFs can have up to four members. This is as long as all members are trustees (or directors, if there is a corporate trustee) and are responsible for decisions made about the fund and compliance with relevant laws. SMSF’s sole purpose is to provide for your retirement and runs under similar rules of an ordinary super fund however you are personally liable for all the decisions made by the fund even if you get help from a professional, or another member makes that particular decision.



The reason for being such a popular choice is for the many benefits and flexibility it offers. You are personally liable for all decisions made. You have control of your SMSF as long as you manage your fund in accordance to the current Australia superannuation laws. Factors the ATO ensures to regulate, according to their website include:

  • Verifying that a fund’s primary purpose is to pay retirement benefits to its members
  • Providing information and forms to help you set up and manage your fund.
  • That super law are followed and complied with.
  • Taking enforcement action to correct matters when there is a breach of the law
  • Checking that SMSF auditors perform to a high standard as required.

We recommend visiting the ATO website for more information.



With SMSF you have the flexibility of hiring a professional adviser to help maintain all legal responsibilities of the fund or have the option to do everything yourself.

This is especially the case when it comes to taxation. SMSF’s can allow trustees to take a tailored approach to manage taxation especially when it comes to capital gain tax. It is always recommended you have a professional deal with SMSF taxation matters.


Investment Choice

When compared to standard retail or industry super funds, the investment opportunities become much wider in range. Investment opportunities include geared investments and assets such as artwork, and direct property. However, be warned that strict rules apply to personal use assets held by an SMSF

You also can transfer business property owned outside superannuation to SMSF.



Depending on how much is placed in your super fund, you are maybe better off considering an SMSF over a retail super fund. According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the recommended balance of your super fund should be $200,000 or more. Less than that and you may find the setup costs and annual running expenses to be too high and not cost effective.

Tax-effectiveness is a definite cost saving benefit as SMSF’s can hold temporary and permanent disability and life insurances on their members.


If interested and want to find out more about the self-managed super fund, contact us on (03) 9417 3511 and get a free consultation to determine whether it is right for you.


Richard E Suttie Pty. Ltd. Trading as Suttie Financial Group.

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