What happened to all the Collectables?

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Why did the total value of Collectables held by SMSFs drop so much in 2012?

Drop in Value of Art and Collectables held by SMSFs

The above graph is produced from the December 2013 SMSF statistics collected by the ATO, and shows a dramatic drop in the reported total value of assets classed as Collectables and Personal-Use Assets. The drop (based on the table) is $ 189 million, whereas the previous three quarters of 2011 had shown small increases:

QuarterTotal Value ($, millions)
June 2011709
September 2011716
December 2011720
March 2012728
June 2012539

These figures are the total value of the reported assets, so they can change because funds bought or sold assets, the assets rose or fell in value, or funds started or stopped classing assets as Collectables and Personal-Use Assets. However the drop in June 2012 is the only decrease in the statistics and far larger than any other movement:

Increase and Decrease in Total Value of Collectables and Personal-Use Assets held by SMSFs

So why would June 2012 matter –  possibly because it was the first time after the new regulations regarding Collectables came into affect on 1 July 2011 that SMSFs had to lodge Annual Returns with the ATO. But the new rules only applied immediately to assets purchased after 1 July 2011, assets owned prior to this date are excluded from the new rules until 1 July 2016. So either:

  1. The value of Collectables genuinely fell significantly
  2. Funds sold Collectables several years ahead of the deadline for the new rules
  3. A large proportion of assets were mis-classified as Collectables prior to 2012
  4. A large proportion of assets have been ‘re-classified’ as not Collectables

Source: https://www.ato.gov.au/About-ATO/Research-and-statistics/In-detail/Super-statistics/SMSF/Self-managed-super-fund-statistical-report—December-2013/

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