Female SMSF investors more focused on securing retirement

Female investors are increasingly using self-managed superannuation funds to build wealth, with women aged between 35 and 50 displaying different share trading habits to men.

According to the latest CommSec SMSF Trading Trends Report, a comparison of men and women with both SMSF and personal trading accounts showed females invested almost one-and-a-half times more in dollar terms into their SMSFs than in their personal accounts - the opposite of men in the same demographic.

CommSec said this is indicative of women being both more cautious and more forward-looking investors, preferring to focus on securing their retirement rather than build up assets outside of superannuation.

"In contrast, men are more likely to trade larger amounts and more often. Over the last six months, men traded approximately six times as much as women in dollar terms across both their SMSF and personal accounts, reflecting both a greater propensity to trade and a disparity in financial resources between the genders," the report reads.

The report also shows SMSF investors taking advantage of reduced sharemarket volatility to consolidate their portfolios, trading less but taking larger positions when doing so. SMSFs are twice as likely to trade in share parcels of more than $25,000 as non-SMSFs, with total trade values increasing by 2% over the six months to June 2017.

SMSF investors are still showing a strong preference for Australia's blue-chip stocks, with Telstra, BHP and the big four banks accounting for almost 70% of the total value traded by active SMSF investors in the first half of the year. However, SMSFs also showed an increased propensity for the cost-effective diversification offered by exchange-traded products.

CommSec data shows SMSFs trade ETFs 34% more often than non-SMSFs and, though SMSFs represent just 30% of clients with ETFs and LICs, they hold over 50% of investments by value. SMSFs are also using them to diversify into international equities, now representing 60% of CHESS holdings of international asset ETFs and LICs.

"SMSFs are often characterised as insufficiently diversified, having portfolios concentrated in cash and large cap domestic equities, but some SMSFs are more diversified than we give them credit for," Commonwealth Bank head of SMSF Customers, Marcus Evans said.

"In the current low growth environment, it seems SMSFs have been seeking cost-effective diversification. Our analysis shows an increased investment by SMSFs in hybrids, interest rate securities, and Australian and international ETFs."

Read more: CommSecsuperannuationself-managed superannuationCommonwealth BankCommSec SMSF Trading Trends ReportMarcus Evans
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