From 1 July 2021, self-managed super funds (SMSF) and small APRA funds (SAFs) will be allowed to have up to six members instead of four.
The changes have been on the table for some-time but were finally passed in June 2021.
Before leaping in and increasing the number of members in your fund it is prudent to consider whether this is a good idea.
For families with more than four members, six member SMSFs are attractive for the following reasons:
- It allows all family members to be in the one SMSF (if a family of 6 or less) whereas previously any families with more than 2 children had to split across 2 funds or leave the children out of the SMSF
- With 6 members the SMSF becomes more cost effective to run and therefore potentially more viable.
- It allows members to travel overseas for a prolonged period of time without the risk of residency issues (the residency rules require 50% of members measured by market value to be in Australia, therefore the more members the greater flexibility)
- It can assist with estate planning and the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. Assets may be able to remain in the Fund if the overall balance of the fund is higher and spread amongst more members (e.g. commercial property owned by the SMSF and leased to a related party may be able to be retained rather than being sold on the death of a member).
- More members means more money to invest and potentially allows greater diversification.
There is however a downside to six member funds including:
- All members must be Directors of the Corporate Trustee. As a Director they are responsible for overseeing all matters of the fund. Therefore meetings, signing and general administration can become more challenging.
- There can be varying investment needs, and these can become more pronounced with a greater range of ages amongst the members.
- It can become more difficult for the investment strategy of the fund to suit all members
- Managing an SMSF is hard work, and the more junior members of your family may not yet have the skills to be involved in the level of decision making required
- Your Trust Deed and Corporate Trustee documents will need to be reviewed to ensure they are appropriate.
As with most changes there are positives and negatives. If you would like to discuss whether you should consider taking advantage of the changes, please contact our office on 07 3831 1055 to discuss.