Smart Q&A

Self Managed Super is often perceived as elitist and complex, but in fact it isn’t really like that. SMSF offers fantastic tax and investment benefits for those who are serious about financial freedom in retirement. Our Q&A answers many of the questions we are often asked when people are considering a SMSF.

In theory there is no minimum balance required for a SMSF, however we believe that a balance of around $150,000 - $200,000 needed to make a start with SMSF. Alternatively, if you have a high inome level you may be able to start sooner. The great news is that with you can combine your balance with that of your spouse or business partner to create the economies of scale needed to make Self Managed Super viable.

However great super is not merely about economies of scale, it’s about taking control of your investment decisions and achieving financial freedom for your retirement.

SMSF’s suit a wide range of people including:

  • Sophisticated investors with a wide range of assets
  • Small business owners who want to acquire a commercial property that can be leased back to their business
  • Families who have complex wealth management and estate planning needs
  • Anyone who desires a better Super experience where they have all the power over the decisions that are made about their money!

At Exelsuper we give you the tools to decide what is right for your super while we do all the work to implement and manage your strategy.

It is true that a SMSF is a legal structure involving the establishment of a trust deed and trustees. It’s also true that the Superannuation Industry Supervision Legislation places some serious obligations on trustees to comply with the law.

To date over 480,000 Australians have made the exciting decision to manage their own superannuation funds and are gaining popularity. Why? The answer is because SMSF’s give you total control over your superannuation assets, allow less limitations in investment choice, can be completely tailored to your needs and are cost-effective.

With Exelsuper guiding you through the process to ensure your meet all of your obligations and responsibilities you will be surprised at how simple SMSF really is.

At Exelsuper our goal is to make self managed super available to more people. To achieve this we focus on three things:

We are the smarter way to manage your superannuation and create financial success

We offer smart and tax-effective SMSF administration and assistance that gives you the satisfaction of controlling your retirement savings and implementing the investment strategy of your choice.

Our specialised SMSF advisers are experts in the Superannuation industry

We know how to help you get the most from your SMSF and will help you with smarter investment strategies to maximise your superannuation funds.

We make SMSF simple, accessible and cost effective

We offer the complete superannuation fund administration and assistance package with a simple flat fee (no hidden commissions or additional variable fees) that gives our clients price certainty and confidence.

A free consultation has a single purpose, to empower you to make the best decision about your superannuation with all the facts at hand and get you on the fast track to passive income through smarter, tax-efficient investing.

By booking a free consultation you will be getting straight down to facts and sourcing information specifically relevant to you and your circumstances. You will come away with a bespoke, tailor-made strategy from a licenced financial adviser aimed at achieving financial freedom in your retirement.

Your initial consultation will be with the founder and Managing Director of Exelsuper, Chris Harris. Chris holds the highest qualification available to any self managed superannuation specialist, and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Superannuation Professionals Association of Australia Specialist SMSF Adviser (SMSF Specialist Advisor™), Financial Wisdom SMSF Specialist Pathway adviser, former Chairman of the National Council of Financial Adviser Associations, former Chairman of the Authorised Representatives Association, invited member of the FPA Public Policy Committee and a registered tax practitioner. Despite this Chris is still a fun person!


A SMSF is a trust where money and investments are held and managed on behalf of the members with the sole purpose is to provide benefits to fund members on retirement.

Members of an SMSF are responsible for appointing an approved auditor and may choose to involve a tax agent, accountant and financial adviser, although the ultimate legal responsibility for ongoing compliance rests with the individual trustees or the directors of the corporate trustee. Whilst trustees can outsource the management, they cannot delegate the responsibility for their funds compliance.

SMSFs must meet a broad range of compliance and governance requirements covering:

Trustees and members

  • An SMSF must have fewer than five members.
  • All members must be trustees (or directors of the corporate trustee) and there can be no other trustees (or directors if the trustee is a company). This aims to ensure each member is fully involved in the running of the fund.
  • A single–member fund must appoint a company as trustee or a second person to act as an individual trustee.
  • No fund member can be an employee of another member of the fund, unless those members are related.
  • Trustees cannot be remunerated for trustee services.

Investment strategy and objectives

  • Trustees must set out the fund’s objectives and formulate an investment strategy in writing.
  • An SMSF must be maintained for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members and its investments must be entered into with a view to achieving a commercial rate of return, not for any lifestyle or private purposes.
  • An SMSF must not lend money or give financial assistance to a member.
  • The SMSF cannot acquire an asset from a member of the fund or any other person related to the trustee. There are some exceptions including listed shares, widely held trusts (eg: managed funds) and business real property.
  • An SMSF is prohibited from borrowing with some exceptions including:
    • limited recourse loans subject to strict requirements
    • certain short–term loans to pay benefits
    • funds used to settle certain security transactions.

An investment strategy is a plan for investing, holding and realising a fund’s assets so it achieves the stated investment objectives. Having an investment strategy helps ensure the fund grows your retirement savings.

The main requirements for an investment strategy are to:

  • set out the fund’s objectives and formulate an investment strategy that is designed to meet those objectives
  • choose investments which have the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members.

Setting an investment strategy

When formulating the investment strategy trustees should specify:

  • the range of permitted investments and likely return and risk associated with an investment
  • the level of diversification of the fund’s assets, ideally listing the expected percentage to be invested in each asset class and the permitted range
  • the liquidity of the fund’s assets and its ability to pay benefits.

It is vitally important that the trustees regularly review the investment strategy to ensure it remains appropriate and comply with the investment rules of a SMSF. Failure to do so can result in the fund losing tax concessions or a trustee being fined or disqualified.

Trustees and members are responsible for ensuring an SMSF meets the extensive reporting requirements which include:

  • keeping accurate and accessible accounting records
  • preparing an annual operating statement
  • providing an annual statement of the fund’s financial position.

As you might expect, the Australian Taxation Office closely monitors SMSF's and can impose financial penalties on non–compliant funds. You may decide to engage professional experts such as your Exelsuper to help your SMSF comply with these obligations.

Establishing and maintaining an SMSF places a range of demands and obligations on members including:

  • the responsibility to ensure that trustees act in the best interests of fund members
  • making time to administer and monitor the fund’s assets
  • costs of auditing, supervisory levies and administration
  • taking on the risk of tax penalties if the fund fails to comply.

Before becoming a SMSF trustee it’s important that you fully understand the significant responsibilities the role entails. To find out more, you can obtain the Running a Self Managed Super Fund – your roles and responsibilities as a trustee brochure (document code: NAT 11032) from the Australian Taxation Office. Exelsuper will also provide you with a copy of this document.

At Exelsuper we believe that you should use a qualified and accredited Self Managed Super specialist to administer your Self Managed Super fund. Research shows that most accountants service less than 10 clients each, who have a self managed super fund. SMSF is a technical and complex area that takes expert focus to gain the best outcomes. We congratulate and applaud all accountants who have recognised that this is a specialist field and encourage you to ensure that your SMSF professional holds SPAA SSA accreditation before proceeding and is an SMSF specialist, not a general practitioner. All Exelsuper advisers hold SPAA SSA accreditation.

What about financial planners?

We believe that cutting out the middle man saves you money. In most cases you don’t need to pay an investment adviser to place investments for you. Most of our clients are more than capable of doing that for themselves. We do recognise that sometimes you need advice on developing an investment strategy and choosing investments. Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd is fully licensed with experienced SMSF specialist advisers who have over 25 years experience in advising clients on investment strategy. They are able to develop and implement complex and detailed independant insurance and investment strategies for you and place the recommended investments for you. The comforting thing is that if you choose to use the Exelsuper financial planning team there is no additional cost, no commissions, no hourly rates or hidden fees. It’s all included.

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