A year-old drop-off in newly establishing SMSFs has been reversed

Since September 2018, the number of newly established SMSFs started to drop. But the latest SMSF data from the ATO shows that by the same date a year later, establishments had grown again to almost the same level.

The number of SMSF establishments for the September 2018 quarter hit 6,189, but dropped to less than 5,000 for every one of the next three quarters. But for the September 2019 quarter, the number had reached 5,778 (still 411 short from a year before). However the ATO states in its report: “Establishments and wind-ups for recent quarters may be understated because there is often a time lag between when the event occurs and when we receive notification from the SMSF.”

Other highlights from the September 2019 statistical report include:

  • there were 598,582 SMSFs
  • there were 1,124,699 members
  • the total estimated assets of SMSFs were just over $746 billion
  • the top asset types held by SMSFs (by value) were  
    • listed shares (31% of total estimated SMSF assets)
    • cash and term deposits (21%).

One that last point, and by way of contrast, the least popular assets types are overseas residential real property, overseas non-residential property, and insurance policies.

By far the most common number of members of a fund is two (70%), which has been consistent for the past four years of data, followed by single member funds (23.4%). The number of three or four member funds is tiny in comparison (7% combined). A very slight drop off in the latter numbers had been to the benefit of one-member funds.

By member age, the most common range is 60 to 64, with 50 to 54 year olds next and the 65 to 69s close behind. Interestingly, the age cohort of under 34 year olds is not unrepresented, making up 3.7% of the total SMSF population.

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