The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released its latest statistics on the self-managed super fund (SMSF) sector.
In the five years to 2016-17, the number of SMSFs grew by 26 per cent to 597,000 funds, with total assets worth $697 billion, or 30 per cent of the $2.3 trillion in total superannuation assets in Australia.
In 2015-16, SMSFs also had a positive return on assets of 2.9%. SMSFs have experienced annual positive growth for the five years to 2016 and are in line with the return on investment (before fees) achieved by industry and retail funds.
The ATO data show some interesting trends in relation to SMSF member demographics and borrowings.
While there’s continuing strong growth in average member balances overall at 26 per cent over the last five years, female members have grown their balances at a higher rate (30 per cent) than their male counterparts (22 per cent) over the last five years.
There is also a continuing decrease in the median age of new members in newly established funds. In 2016 the median age was 47 years compared with 50 years in 2012. This means that more trustees are entering the SMSF sector at an earlier stage in their working life than in previous years.