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Senate committee gives 6-member SMSFs bill green light

The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has recommended that the six-member SMSF bill be passed, despite concerns from Labor that it may lead to “perverse outcomes” for SMSF members.

SMSF Miranda Brownlee 06 November 2020
— 1 minute read

In early September, the government reintroduced its measure to increase the number of members allowed in an SMSF to six, when it introduced Treasury Laws Amendment (Self-Managed Superannuation Funds) Bill 2020 into the Senate.

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On 3 September 2020, the Senate referred the bill to the Economics Legislation Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 4 November 2020.

While the committee acknowledged in the report there were differing views towards the bill, it stated that most submissions were supportive of the bill.

“Some submitters suggested that there is not a significant demand for increasing the maximum number of SMSF members in a fund and hence no need for the amendments to be made. While noting these views, the committee considers most objections to be more general in nature rather than significant concerns,” the report stated.

In its report, the committee noted that the SMSF sector has seen considerable growth since the 1990s and now represents approximately one-third of Australia’s total $2.76 trillion retirement funds.

“Recognising the obvious benefit to Australians, particularly families who number more than four members and manage their own superannuation, the committee sees efficiencies in the bill’s amendments,” the report said.

“As such, the committee is of the view that families should have the option to establish a single SMSF together if they wish to, thereby reducing administrative costs.”

The report noted concerns by Labor senators the “legislation could bring about greater perverse outcomes for members of SMSFs through poor financial advice”.

The Labor senators recommended that the Senate oppose the bill and that the government consider adopting the reforms recommended by the Productivity Commission to create stronger safeguards on SMSF advice.

“More broadly, systemic reform is needed to ensure people have access to independent advice,” they said.

Senate committee gives 6-member SMSFs bill green light
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