SMSF sector continues to grow

The ATO has recently released its annual statistical overview for self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) the 2018/2019 financial year, providing key statistics and analysis of the SMSF sector. Although the data is relatively old, as it is based on lodged SMSF annual returns, it is the most accurate data available.

Also included in their statistics is 2019–20 financial year information for:

  • Registrations (new funds)
  • wind-ups
  • total populations (SMSFs and members) and their demographics
  • estimated total SMSF assets and asset allocation
  • approved SMSF auditor contravention reports.

The ATO statistics demonstrate the SMSF sector continues to grow, and remains a significant part of the superannuation sector as a whole.  Some key figures from the overview are:

  • There were 593,000 SMSFs holding $733 billion in total assets, with more than 1.1 million SMSF members, as at 30 June 2020. This represents about 25% of the total super industry.

This compares with assets in industry and retail funds as at 30 June 2020 of $1.3 trilllion. Together, SMSFs, industry and retail funds have assets of $2.07 trillion, which represents 72% of the total super industry (State and Commonwealth government funds account for most of the rest).

  • SMSFs had assets of over $1.3 million each on average in 2018–19, up 5% from the previous year and up 22% over five years.
  • 47% of SMSFs had assets between $200,001 and $1 million. This accounts for 20% of the total SMSF assets.
  • Around 10% of SMSF members had an account balance of over $1.6 million.
  • 55% of SMSFs have existed for more than 10 years.
  • The median age of SMSF members of newly established funds in 2018–19 was 46, compared with 61 for all members as at 30 June 2020.
  • The average member balance for females over 5 years to 30 June 2019 was $654,000 (up by 28%), while the average balance for males was $784,000 (up by 22%) over the same period.
  • About 35% of all SMSFs are fully in retirement phase, about 10% are partially in retirement phase, and 55% are in the accumulation phase.
  • SMSFs achieved positive returns for the past five years. The estimated return on assets for 2018–19 was 6.8%.

This compares to a return on assets for the superannuation sector as a whole, excluding SMSFs, which was 6.5% for 2018-2019.