The costs of running an SMSF


No one ever said running a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF) was cheap. There's a reason why, according to a 2013 Rice Warner report, the majority of funds tended to have $200,000 worth of assets or more, and it's because of the many fees and costs associated with running an SMSF.

Here are a few of the expenses you'll have to contend with as the member of an SMSF.

Start-up costs

Before you can actually start running it, you have to set your SMSF up, something which can be costly in itself. You'll need to hire various personnel to help you out, including:

  • a lawyer to help you draft the trust deed

  • a financial adviser, to assist you in coming up with an investment strategy

Ongoing running costs

In addition to this, there are various expenses involved in the ongoing running and management of an SMSF. Many SMSF trustees take a more back-seat role, paying advisers to take care of administration, as well as for assistance regarding where to invest their money. There's also a couple of annual fees that all SMSFs must pay:

  • a supervisory levy, paid with the yearly tax return

  • a review fee, also paid yearly to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission

The annual audit

Part of the ongoing management of your SMSF is the annual audit that must be carried out, which comes with its own set of costs. A financial adviser will ensure SMSF compliance, and see that the auditor's statement for a fee of $51 is lodged. Once the SMSF has been audited, you will have to submit a tax return for your fund, either electronically or online.

With enough super savings, these costs shouldn't be too much of a burden for your SMSF. But it's good to be prepared and know what's coming your way if you do decide to start one.