Your allies-to-be when it comes to self managed superannuation

14/01/2015

Those who like to take a little bit more charge in their own affairs often opt for a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Rather than passively sitting around and watching your retirement savings accumulate, an SMSF gives you direct influence into the direction of your investments.

However, just because you're taking a leading role in directing your superannuation doesn't mean you're doing it alone. Having an SMSF means working with a dedicated team of professionals who you'll need to successfully carry out the job.

Your fellow trustees and members

An SMSF isn't a 'my way or the highway' kind of situation. All of the super fund's members are responsible for both its day-to-day running and the ultimate consequences of any mismanagement or bad decisions. This will require some good interpersonal skills.

Keep this in mind, as spouses often also serve as fellow members. If the relationship unfortunately breaks down, you have to ensure no bitterness creeps into the running of the SMSF.

An SMSF auditor

Each fund must pass an annual SMSF audit, for which they need an approved SMSF auditor.

All SMSF auditors must be approved and registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. While it's possible that, if you yourself are an approved SMSF auditor, you can apply and register for your own fund, given the immensity of the task, it may simply be easier and more beneficial to have someone independent carry it out.

According to the Australian Taxation Office, you'll need to appoint your auditor at least 45 days prior to the return's due date.

A financial planner or investment manager

While this is not mandatory, many SMSFs choose to hire the services of a financial planner and/or an investment manager anyway.

Financial planners can provide you with guidance on how your SMSF fits into your wider wealth generation goals. Meanwhile, an investment manager can evaluate the state of your super fund's asset allocation and suggest where to go from there.