The fact self-managed super funds (SMSFs) don’t come under APRA’s regulatory umbrella often gives the false impression that this superannuation sector is unregulated, says SMSF Association Head of Policy Jordan George.

“There are many myths around SMSFs, often being spread due to a lack of knowledge about the sector, and the notion of an unregulated SMSF sector is at the top of this list.

“As SMSF trustees and their specialist advisors well know, the SMSF sector is rigorously regulated by two key Government agencies: the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which administers the relevant superannuation laws for SMSFs, and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), which regulates financial services to protect consumers and registers SMSF auditors.”

The ATO is the key regulator for the SMSF sector. Its role includes:

  • Verifying that a fund’s primary purpose is to pay retirement benefits to members;
  • Providing information and forms to assist trustees set up and manage a fund;
  • Checking that funds are compliant with the superannuation laws;
  • Taking enforcement action when the laws are breached;
  • Ensuring SMSF auditors perform their duties to the required standard.

George says the ATO has proved a highly effective regulator. “The evidence for this is the high compliance rate among SMSFs, with 98 per cent of funds annually meeting their obligations under the superannuation laws.”

He says that ASIC’s prime responsibility is to ensure that all SMSF auditors are registered, as well as meeting other eligibility requirements, including holding a tertiary accounting qualification or equivalent, meeting a fit and proper test, and holding professional indemnity insurance.

ASIC is also responsible for regulating financial advisors who advise trustees on their fund’s investments and strategies.

George says the “unregulated or lack of regulation” myth that continues to pervade SMSFs flies in the face of the findings of the Cooper and Murray inquiries, both of which gave the sector a clean bill of health.

“Leaving aside Murray’s recommendation to ban LRBAs, neither inquiry found there was any systemic issue threatening the viability of the SMSF sector – further evidence that the regulatory regime is working effectively.”

About the SMSF Association:

The SMSF Association is the authoritative voice for the self-managed superannuation fund sector. The Association, which represents professionals providing a range of services across various disciplines in the complex area of SMSFs as well as engaging trustees to become better educated and informed. The SMSF Association is an advocate for the highest professional standards and competence to ensure SMSF trustees always receive the best possible advice.

Contact for interviews:

Jordan George
SMSF Association Head of Policy
M: 0417 123 427
E: JordanGeorge@smsfassociation.com

Media contact:

Nicholas Way
Shed Media
M: 0409 585 979
E: nway@shedmedia.com.au

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