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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

Expert advice on early superannuation access as a result of COVID-19

April 2, 2020

Under the coronavirus stimulus package released and revised by the Australian Federal Government on 22 March 2020, individuals in financial trouble due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 will be able to access their superannuation funds early. However, while the option is available, it is recommended that individuals only consider withdrawing from their super in the case of absolute emergencies and treat it as a last resort.

With the new rules on superannuation, workers whose incomes are reduced by at least 20% due to the COVID-19 outbreak are allowed to take $10,000 out of their super for the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 for 2020-21. Individuals will also not need to pay tax on any withdrawn amounts and existing welfare payments will not be affected either.

While the introduced early access to superannuation funds may be inviting for newly unemployed workers, it is important to consider whether the temporary relief is necessary and worth foregoing super funds available for long term investment. For example, even when accounting for Australia’s slowing economy in the coming years, $10,000 is predicted to be worth over $65,000 in another 30 years.

Especially for younger workers who are less likely to have access to other savings, the choice to give up future savings for current comfort is a difficult one. Experts instead are recommending Australians to apply for the other payments and benefits made available to vulnerable Australians through the coronavirus stimulus package, such as added $550 fortnightly supplements to Australians on JobSeeker payments and other welfare recipients and pensioners.

Experts also predict that the Australian Government will introduce more stimuli for increased cash flow in the Australian economy and more payments for unemployed, struggling and vulnerable Australians in the case of COVID-19 becoming more of a serious economic issue. Hence, withdrawing funds from your superannuation account should be considered a last resort and not for the sake of unnecessary temporary relief.

In addition to being allowed early access into individual super funds, superannuation minimum drawdown rates will also be temporarily reduced by 50% for account-based pensions and others similar until 2021.

The Government has also reduced the upper and lower social security deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points, with upper at 2.25% and lower at 0.25% which will come into effect on 1 May 2020.