The popularity of do-it-yourself super shows no sign of waning, with latest figures showing almost 7000 self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) have been estab lished this year.

March quarter data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) showed 6823 new SMSFs were established between December 2006 and March 2007.

This is a 9 per cent increase on the previous quarter and a 43 per cent rise on those established between December and March 2006. The ATO said there were 33,059new funds started between March 2006 and March 2007. Australians now have $246 billion in self-managed super.

They are the fastest growing industry funds and make up 99.8 per cent of the number of super funds in Australia.

“The Reforms are being noticed in the marketplace – people are more conscious of super,” SMSF Professionals’ Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said.

“[SMSF establishments have] been averaging 2000 a month … and we’re expecting there to be a little bit more interest this year. Our members are confirming they are very busy.”

Over 60 per cent of SMSF members are baby boomers aged between 45 and 64. Almost 80 per cent have an income less than $80,000, but the average assets per fund sit at $666,150.

The ATO data said cash, equities and property were still by far the most popular asset classes for SMSF investors, although alloca tions to all three fell slightly in the sector of the industry behind quarter.

The tax office has tripled its surveillance staff for SMSFs to almost 500 in light of the swelling Government’s number of funds.

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