Guidance needed on wholesale investor test for SMSFs, says SPAA

Further guidance SMSF retail/wholesale investor test, SPAASPAA has welcomed the statement by ASIC regarding the “treatment of an SMSF as a wholesale or retail investor”.

“It would appear that the announcement by ASIC on 8 August is to clarify the fact that the threshold to determine whether the trustee of an SMSF is a wholesale or retail investor has been reduced from $10m to $2.5m”, says SPAA.

While welcoming the announcement by ASIC, SPAA “believes that further guidance is required to be issued by ASIC on what constitutes a wholesale investor”.

“While the legislation may prescribe various amounts there are no regulations to indicate how those amounts are to be calculated”, says SPAA.

Read More »Guidance needed on wholesale investor test for SMSFs, says SPAA

ATO SMSF trustee webinars: August/September 2014

ATO SMSF webinarsThe ATO has announced another round of webinars aimed at SMSF Trustees, including:

  • Self-managed super funds for trustees – an overview
  • Self-managed super funds – accepting contributions and managing investments
  • Self-managed super funds – accessing your super

Self-managed super funds for trustees – an overview is the ATO-provided course eligible to fulfill a SMSF trustee Education Direction, the other authorised option being provided by CAANZ/CPA.

Read More »ATO SMSF trustee webinars: August/September 2014

Tax super contributions progressively, says Per Capita

Per Capita - progressively taxed super concessional contributions, longevity riskTaxing concessional superannuation contributions progressively is one of the recommendations of a report into Australia’s retirement income system.

The report, The Entitlement of Age, was written by Emily Millane, “Per Capita’s principal research fellow working on the Longevity and Positive Ageing project”.

According to Millane “Australia’s retirement income system is becoming unsustainable”, though this is “not because too much money is spent on the age pension”. Instead it is because “the proposals currently in the budget will make the pension inadequate, and the retirement income system more regressive”.

This is exacerbated by increasing life spans, with the analysis by Per Capita showing that “Australian life expectancies have consistently outstripped official projections due to rapid declines in mortality”. According to the report:

“A comparison between average life spans and official projected life expectancies using steady mortality rates produces a difference of approximately 8 years for men and 12 years for women.”

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No “unexpected detrimental changes to super”, says Ciobo

unexpected detrimental changes to superannuation, says Ciobo“We won’t make any unexpected detrimental changes to superannuation” said Steven Ciobo, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, in a speech to the Group Insurance Summit 2014. Ciobo used the speech to outline the strengths of the superannuation system and the Government’s proposed changes.

Four facts about superannuation

Ciobo listed what he sees as the “four key facts about superannuation”:

  1. Superannuation is the “financial system’s second-largest sector after banking”
  2. “Financial assets held in the superannuation system were 50 per cent of those of the banking system in 1997, but grew to 60 per cent by the end of 2013”
  3. “Superannuation assets are around six times their level in 1997”
  4. “Australia has the fourth-largest pool of superannuation assets in the world, and is one of only a few countries with pension assets worth more than annual Gross Domestic Product”

Read More »No “unexpected detrimental changes to super”, says Ciobo

Superannuation assets pass $1.85 trillion, says APRA

APRA superannuation statistics: $1.85 trillionThere was over $1.85 trillion in superannuation at the end of the 2013/14 financial year, according to APRA. This is one of the figures released by APRA in the June 2014 Quarterly Superannuation Performance statistics.

As at June 2013 total superannuation assets totaled $1.6 trillion, but rose by 15.3% to reach $1.85 trillion by June 2014. However over the June 2014 quarter total superannuation assets only rose by 2.6%.

Approximately 67% of this $1.85 trillion in assets is held by large APRA funds, with another 30% held by SMSFs.

Read More »Superannuation assets pass $1.85 trillion, says APRA

In-house asset rules a “trap” for advisors & trustees, says SPAA

Superannuation, SMSF In-house asset rulesThe superannuation in-house asset rules are a “trap for SMSF advisors, trustees”, according to the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA).

The in-house asset rules “pose one the biggest pitfalls for SMSF trustees and their professional advisors”, says Graeme Colley, Director, Technical and Professional Standards of SPAA.

Colley refers to the in-house asset rules as “one of the most complex set of investment rules in the SIS legislation”. The rules result in a “significant number of breaches of the legislation”, which exposes “trustees to the dangers of significant penalties, non-compliance of the fund or possible disqualification as a trustee”, said Colley.

Read More »In-house asset rules a “trap” for advisors & trustees, says SPAA

BGL announces Simple Fund 360 now integrates with Xero

BGL Simple Fund 360 integration with XeroBGL Corporate Solutions have announced their software, Simple Fund 360, now integrates with Xero’s cloud accounting software.

According to BGL, this integration will allow users of Simple Fund 360 to “connect directly with Xero and seamlessly import bank transactions”. BGL claims Simple Fund 360 “is the first SMSF administration software provider to enable this type of connectivity”.

“Of the 500 plus firms using Simple Fund 360, we know a large percentage also use Xero. The integration expands the bank data capability of Simple Fund 360 as well as providing clients with a single interface to administer their bank data”, says BGL Managing Director Ron Lesh.

Read More »BGL announces Simple Fund 360 now integrates with Xero

White collar workers “risk running out of money” in retirement

White collar workers "risk running out of money" in retirement, MercerWhite collar workers have a significantly higher life expectancy than average and this needs to be considered as part of retirement planning, according to research by consulting firm Mercer.

“White collar workers should not bet on being average or they risk running out of money before their days do and running into diabolical circumstances in retirement”, though is it also a “serious risk of planning finances, career, retirement, and health, including aged care services”, said Mercer.

Read More »White collar workers “risk running out of money” in retirement

Financial System Inquiry: Brisbane Public Forum

FSI, Financial System Inquiry, Public Forum - BrisbaneThe Financial System Inquiry has been holding public forums, as part of the consultation process following the release of the interim report.

This included one in Brisbane on the 19th of August, with others held in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

These events are opportunities for members of the public, who aren’t part of the normal consultation process, to raise their concerns with members of the panel.

Read More »Financial System Inquiry: Brisbane Public Forum

44% of super fund members have multiple accounts, says ATO

ATO - Superannuation members multiple accountsAccording to the ATO 44% of Australian super fund members have more than one superannuation account.

This is one reason why the ATO is taking a “special interest” in multiple super accounts, said ATO Assistant Commissioner John Shepherd in a speech to the Tax Institute National Superannuation Conference.

According to Shepherd the ATO is now using super accounts “matched to a TFN along with matched SMSF accounts to gauge the number of super accounts that individuals hold”. The ATOs statistics show that, approximately:

  • 56% of people have one account
  • 26% of people have two accounts
  • 10% of people have three accounts
  • the remainder have four or more accounts.

Read More »44% of super fund members have multiple accounts, says ATO