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Is your SMSF adequately diversified?

When forming a fund’s investment strategy, diversification is a notable consideration for SMSF trustees. By spreading the investments of a fund across different asset classes and markets that offer varying risks and returns, SMSF members can better position themselves for a secure retirement.

Why diversify?
The intention of diversification is to spread the investment risk of an SMSF. The idea is that if one asset underperforms, it can be offset by the success of other assets and keep the fund on track to meet its investment objectives. Diversifying investments across uncorrelated assets, such as shares and bonds, may also make it possible for investors to lower the volatility of the portfolio.

How to diversify your fund:
Accessing certain asset classes can be challenging for SMSFs due to minimum investment requirements or other ownership restrictions. Managed funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are two options that can provide easy access to diversification. Managed funds pool together money from multiple investors which professional managers then invest in a variety of assets, such as global or local shares, offshore property or high-yield investments. ETFs, on the other hand, aim to replicate the performance of a particular index or group of assets, which can give an investor exposure to an entirely different market or asset class. These two methods can give SMSFs the ability to access more diverse investments.

As having an appropriately diversified portfolio can have a significant impact on members’ retirement savings, trustees may consider seeking professional financial advice in the management of their SMSF’s investment strategies.

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News

Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

August 12, 2019

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.