New figures from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reveal that male SMSF members have seen their balances grow by 22 per cent in the five years to 2016 and women have seen their balances grow by 30 per cent.
That’s according to the ATO’s statistical overview for 2015-16.
Reflecting on the results, ATO assistant commissioner, Kasey Macfarlane said the data shows the sector is experiencing continuous growth together with positive returns, and an increasing number of funds and members.
“SMSFs account for 99.6 per cent of all superannuation funds and 30 per cent of the $2.3 trillion in total superannuation assets in Australia,” Ms Macfarlane said.
“The annual statistics highlight the growth of the SMSF sector. In the five years to 2016-17 we have seen the number of SMSFs grow by 26 per cent to 597,000, with total assets worth $697 billion.”
At 20 June 2016, the average SMSF member balance was $599,000 – approximately 11 times the size of an average non-SMSF members’ $56,000 balance.
At the same time as members saw their balances increase, they were boosting their contributions by 21 per cent on average – “significantly higher” than the 16 per cent growth in total contributions to all super funds.
However, employer contributions made to SMSFs fell by 5 per cent in the five years to 2016.
Continuing, Ms Macfarlane said SMSFs in 2015-16 saw a return on assets of 2.9 per cent, continuing a five-year trend of positive growth.
“This year we revised our data set used to determine SMSF trustee structure,” she continued.
“Last year we reported 77 per cent of SMSFs had an individual trustee structure, however moving to this more reliable data set has resulted in significant changes. At 30 June 2017, 57 per cent of SMSFs had a corporate trustee.”
SMSFs are also getting younger
While the median age of new members in 2012 was 50, by 2016 the median age was 47, the assistant commissioner related.
“This tells us that more trustees are entering the SMSF sector at an earlier stage in their working life than in previous years.
As for funds established in 2016; 75 per cent of members were younger than 55, compared to 65 per cent of members in 2012.
“The annual overview also reports that in 2015-16, 7 per cent of SMSFs held assets under limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs), slightly higher than the prior year of 6 per cent.”
And they’re getting richer
According to an ATO snapshot of funds since 2012, funds are also getting wealthier. Where funds with less than $200,000 made up 51 per cent of the SMSF population in the 2012 financial year, they made up 20 per cent in the 2016 financial year.
Meanwhile, the population with fund balances of more than $500,000 grew from less than a quarter to nearly a half.