Why is SMSFOA necessary?
In the superannuation sector, the managers of the major industry, corporate and retail funds are well represented by influential associations. Professional advisers and managers also belong to industry and professional associations. The owners (trustees and beneficiaries) of SMSFs, being significant stakeholders in Australia's superannuation system, also need an effective national organisation to represent them directly.
Who are the people involved?
A group of SMSF owners have got together to form the SMSF Owners' Alliance, believing it is necessary to have a representative body dedicated to promote and protect the interests of SMSF trustees. The founding Board of SMSFOA comprises six individuals with successful professional careers in business, the law and industry affairs. See their profiles at the governance page.
Are they receiving any financial benefit?
Currently, the directors of SMSFOA are not paid. The Board recognises that in order to attract appropriate experience and expertise, and to compensate for time spent, some modest director's fees may need to be paid in the future. As we grow, SMSFOA intends to develop a small team of professional experts to ensure we have the capability and expertise to develop our policy agenda, to represent effectively the interests of members and to efficiently administer the organisation as it develops.
How many members do you have?
SMSFOA is in the start-up phase. As SMSF owners recognise the benefit of an organisation that protects them, we expect membership numbers to grow. There are more than half a million SMSFs with around one million individual trustees and beneficaries individual trustees and beneficiaries, all of whom would benefit from SMSFOA membership.
Should I join as a Principal or General Member?
It depends on how closely engaged you would like to become. If you wish to take the opportunity to participate actively in the work of SMSFOA and exercise a vote at general meetings, then you may wish to consider becoming a Principal Member. On the other hand, if you support the objectives of SMSFOA but may not have the opportunity to participate actively, you may opt to become a General Member. SMSFOA welcomes your commitment at either level.
Can I change membership category?
Yes. At the annual renewal of your membership you may opt to change your membership category, subject to the provisions of the SMSFOA Constitution.
What value will you provide to me and my SMSF?
Essentially, our value to SMSFs lies in our advocacy effort on your behalf. Whenever a policy issue arises that affects your SMSF and the value of your investment in it, SMSFOA will be there to speak up for all SMSF owners. We will seek to have our voice heard in policy decisions that could greatly affect how much you can contribute to your SMSF, how you can invest your assets and how you can access the value in your fund in the pension phase. We will keep a sharp focus on the taxation of SMSFs as tax is a key factor in building the value of your SMSF during the accumulation phase and the rate its value is reduced during the pension phase. We will keep you advised of our policy priorities and advocacy activities via a monthly emailed newsletter. Over time, it is our intention to also develop a range of useful research and information packs.
If I join, how will I have my say?
What do you see as the big issues?
Consistent and fair treatment of SMSFs when it comes to contribution rules, investment rules, drawdown arrangements and, in particular, taxation. SMSFs must not be discriminated against by way of taxation or regulatory rules just because they have been so successful. There is a big risk that when governments are looking for more revenue to balance their budgets, they will be tempted to target the more than $500 billion held in SMSFs. They could do this in any number of ways, for example by changing the contribution limits yet again, by changing the tax rate on SMSF investment earnings, by re-introducing tax on retirement pensions for over 60's and so on.
We want governments to accept that constant change to superannuation rules creates uncertainty and harms confidence in the system. Many people have ordered their lives and their financial affairs so they can be self-sufficient in retirement and they should be able to look forward and enjoy those years without fear that the goalposts will be changed and as a result the value of their SMSF will be diminished.
Will you provide advice on setting up an SMSF or on investment strategy?
No. The service we are providing our members is to represent your interests in dealing with the government and with regulators to ensure your investment is treated fairly, particularly with regard to taxation and specific rules that apply to SMSFs. It is not within the scope of SMSFOA, nor are we licensed to do so, to give any advice regarding the specifics of setting up an SMSF or its investment strategy. This is the role of qualified and licensed advisers. Our primary role is advocacy.
How do I join?
Go to our Join Now page where you will find an online membership application form and payment options.
Can I charge my membership fee to my SMSF?
You should discuss with your fund's accountant/auditor/adviser.