Setting up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) offers many benefits, mainly a much greater level of control over your financial future and flexibility in relation to investments. Before you get started however, you must understand exactly what’s involved.

In setting up a self-managed super fund you have various duties and responsibilities. Below are the key questions you need to answer before embarking on SMSF setup. We’ve included some helpful industry links below to assist you with your research and we also recommend that you seek professional advice before you make the decision to set up a SMSF.

SMSF Setup – Key Questions

Is SMSF the right move for me?

A self-managed super fund is not for everyone and the decision to set up a SMSF should not be made lightly. Managing your own super fund is actually a big responsibility and there are strict rules you must follow.

Before setting up a SMSF you must be:

  • Willing to spend the money to get it all set up
  • Comfortable that you have enough assets to warrant it
  • Confident that you have the knowledge and skills to manage your SMSF
  • Willing to educate yourself on the laws and rules governing SMSF
  • Committed to dedicating the time and effort required to manage your fund and to meet your obligations as a Trustee
  • Comfortable about making decisions relating to risk and return on investment
  • Willing to seek professional advice as required.

There are two great resources for people considering a SMSF.

The ATO have published further information on their website, click here to read more.

In addition, ASIC have a fantastic introductory guide with a six-step process to determine if SMSF setup is right for you. Access it here.

What are my responsibilities as a Trustee?

You will have a range of various responsibilities as a SMSF Trustee. These include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring that the sole purpose of your self-managed super fund is to provide retirement benefits to its members
  • Managing your SMSF as a separate entity, ensuring that is independent from all other personal financial affairs
  • Acting at all times in the best interests of all members
  • Making sound investment decisions and managing risk effectively
  • Complying with superannuation and taxation laws at all times
  • Running the fund in accordance with your trust deed and investment strategy and making adjustments to these plans as required
  • Ongoing compliance management involving admin tasks such as book-keeping, recording meeting minutes, organising audits and lodging tax returns
  • Advising the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of any changes to contact or member details

The ATO is the governing body for SMSF in Australia. Be sure to read their information on understanding roles and responsibilities, plus their guide on managing a SMSF.

What do I actually have to do to setup a SMSF?

Once you decide that setting up a self-managed super fund is right for you, you will need professional help to get everything set up. You’ll find the people you need in our Marketplace.

The key tasks involved in setting up your self-managed super fund are:

  • Establishing an ABN and Tax File Number
  • Drafting a Trust Deed
  • Appointing your Trustees
  • Setting up a dedicated bank account
  • Registering the fund with the ATO
  • Designing an Investment Strategy
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