Only 3,964 SMSFs were established in the March 2019 quarter, according to the latest ATO statistics, continuing a trend of slower growth in the number of SMSFs.
This is the lowest number of SMSFs established in a quarter since at least 2008. December 2018 was the previously lowest quarter, with 4,762 SMSFs started (after revision).
The ATO’s March 2018 quarter SMSF statistics also have 189 funds ceasing, leaving net establishments at 3,775.
For the same quarter in 2017 there were 5,939 SMSF establishments and 1,508 wind-ups, a net establishment of 4,431.
Though the 2018 figures will likely be subject to revisions. The ATO says: “Quarterly establishments and wind-ups for recent quarters may be understated, because there is often a time lag between when this event occurs and when we receive notification from the SMSF. It is anticipated that the number of June 2018 quarter establishments and particularly wind-ups will increase as more notifications are received.”
SMSF wind-ups in the December 2018 quarter have been revised up from 128 to 578, while establishments had been revised up from 4,296 to 4,762. These revisions have the net establishment for December 2018 at 4,184.
Though there is a trend of slower SMSF establishments, the total number of SMSFs continues to grow. The ATO has 598,429 SMSFs as at the end of March 2019, with a total of 1,129,542 members.