The number of new SMSFs being set up is the lowest in at least a decade, based on the latest and historical ATO statistics.
Only 25,034 SMSFs were established in 2017/18, according to the ATO statistics. This compares to the 30,540 established in 2016/17 and the high point over the past ten years of 41,079 in 2011/12.
SMSF wind-ups have also declined, but not at the same rate as establishments, leaving the net establishment of SMSFs also at a decade-long low of 14,505, just below the 14,844 net establishments in 2009/10. Though, based on previous years, the June quarter SMSF wind-up figure is likely to be significantly revised upwards – only 206 SMSFs are shown as ceasing in the quarter, compared to and average of 9,142 for the June quarter over the past four years. Such a revision would leave the SMSF net establishment figure at close to a quarter of those of recent years.
The trend of declining SMSF establishments is also seen in the quarterly figures, with the last three quarters – December 2017, March 2018 and June 2018 – each making new lows in quarterly SMSF establishments going back to June 2013. Only 5,531 SMSFs were set up in the June 2018 quarter, compared to 8,409 in the June 2017 quarter.
While growth is slowing, the total number of SMSFs still hit a new record high of 596,225 in the June 2018 quarter, with 1,118,650 total members.
It should be noted that the ATO statistics can be subject to revisions, and the ATO warns that: “Much of the information in the statistical tables is estimated, based on data reported to us. Caution should be taken when using or presenting this data.”
Primary data source: Self-managed super fund quarterly statistical report – June 2018