SMSF Administration Providers
Self managed super funds are the fastest growing sector of the trillion dollar superannuation industry in Australia.
For anyone who has made the decision to switch to a self managed super fund, one of your first tasks will to choose an administration and audit provider.
Although SMSFs are known as a do-it-yourself option for superannuation, there are a couple of tasks which still have to be undertaken by a qualified professional. These tasks include the annual compliance audit and lodgement of the tax return for your SMSF.
Your SMSF administration provider may be a specialised provider, however in some cases your usual accountant can provide the administration and tax services.
The role of the administration provider
If you do not already have an SMSF in place, the first part of the administration provider’s role will be to set up your SMSF. This involves a number of steps including establishing the trust, obtaining an ABN and TFN for the trust, and creating and issuing the trust deed.
In theory this setup work could be done on your own, however unless you have experience with establishing trusts and creating trust deeds it is better left to the professionals.
Once your fund has been established, the SMSF admin provider will undertake the annual compliance audit of your SMSF, as well as lodging your fund’s tax return to the ATO.
In order to undertake the audit and tax functions, your SMSF administration provider will require detailed information about every transaction made within your SMSF. A growing number of admin providers can now perform this electronically through linked bank and share trading accounts.
Types of SMSF admin providers
There are a number of different types of SMSF admin providers, and the one that suits your SMSF will depend on your own needs and objectives for the fund.
Many people use their accountant to undertake these services, however this will only work if your accountant is qualified to perform such services. You would want to be confident in your accountant’s SMSF skills before going down this path.
In recent years a large number of specialist SMSF admin providers have entered the market. Some of these companies provide personalised and fully featured support, whilst others provide limited support in return for lower fees.
Whilst some of the online SMSF services provide extremely competitive fee packages, they can be limited in terms of their support and service levels, as well as the investment options they offer.
Choosing an SMSF admin service
The needs and objectives of your SMSF will have a major influence over which admin provider will be best for your fund.
If you are planning on investing in direct shares, cash and managed funds only, then you may find that one of the low cost online operators will provide you with the best value for money.
If on the other hand you are planning on investing in more exotic assets such as artwork or borrowing money within your SMSF to purchase commercial property, then you may find that a full service admin provider is necessary.
Speak to a professional
Unless you have a good level of superannuation knowledge and experience yourself, it may be prudent to speak with your financial adviser or accountant before choosing an administration provider.
An SMSF professional will be able to assess your needs and advise you on which structure will be the best fit for you and your fund.