SMSF data misleading: BGL

SMSF administrator BGL Corporate Solutions has called out ASIC over a "misleading" fact sheet it published and distributed to SMSF trustees last year.

It comes after SMSF Association chief John Maroney slammed the regulator over the data used in the same fact sheet last week.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said the way the data was presented was misrepresentative of the industry and its norms.

"We are not disputing the data itself, we just think the way the data had been presented is misleading," he said.

He argued that the figures used by ASIC to describe the costs of running a SMSF portfolio only applied to a select few.

"Our analysis has ascertained that ASIC's calculation of the average cost of running an SMSF includes Australian and overseas interest, insurance premiums, forestry managed scheme expenses, investment expenses and something called 'other amounts' - these expenses only apply to a very small number of SMSFs," Lesh said.

"These amounts contribute to 91.3% of the SMSF costs. The average administration cost, after the removal of all these items, becomes $1205 - just 8.7% of the ASIC amount.

"Even if investment expenses are included, the average amount becomes $3348. This is a far cry from ASIC's headline amount of $13,886," he said.

BGL has completed its own analysis of SMSF administration costs.

"BGL has also done an extensive analysis of the 190,000 + funds on the Simple Fund 360 platform. We have done this calculation exactly the same way ASIC did their calculations," Lesh said.

"Our calculation shows an average cost of $5720 (compared to ASIC's $13,886) and when you take the median cost rather than an average cost of running and SMSF it is $ 3718."

Despite the firm's cost revelations, BGL said it had no issue with ASIC and the ATO releasing the data.

"BGL has no problem with ASIC and the ATO releasing data, but we think that data needs to be properly explained and needs to represent the real costs in the industry," Lesh said.

"It would appear whoever wrote the ASIC flyer has an anti-SMSF agenda and created the flyer to be misleading - and for new SMSF Trustees - just simply scary."

Lesh finished with a subtle jab at the corporate regulator.

"I always thought it was the job of the regulators to provide facts not opinions or to follow agendas," he added.

Lesh also took aim at the ATO.

"We dodged a bullet this year as the CPI did not reach the level where the $1.6m pension cap was indexed" he said.

"The inability of the ATO to provide automated (API) access to pension balances looms as a huge problem for the industry.

"If the current method of indexation remains law and the ATO cannot provide automated access to pension data, it is going to make it very difficult for SMSF administrators to have confidence around account balances," Lesh argued.

Read more: SMSFASICATOBGL Corporate SolutionsRon LeshJohn MaroneySMSF Association
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