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SMSFA, FSC call for infrastructure investment access

The SMSF Association and the Financial Services Council (FSC) are calling for self-managed super funds to have access to unitised, liquid infrastructure investments as a way of generating economic growth.

The two organisations, which represent more than $1.7 trillion of the superannuation pool, have joined forces to present this policy to the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board and National Cabinet.

SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said: "It has always been a bone of contention with the Association that SMSFs have been largely precluded from investing in infrastructure."

SMSFs have generally been excluded from investing in transparent and liquid investment vehicles to house infrastructure because of the high dollar threshold for this investment and the illiquid nature of the asset.

However, this asset class offers a relatively low-risk investment alternative to cash and would be attractive to all superannuation investors to overcome concerns around asset pricing.

"The benefits of this asset class to SMSFs include managing longevity risks in retirement by offering long-term investment options with low volatility, moderate yield relative to inflation and capital growth, and the desire of trustees to have control via direct investing," he said.

"So, the opening up of infrastructure investment to SMSFs in a unitised, liquid form would provide a new avenue for SMSF investment that could help fund Australia's recovery and future infrastructure investment needs."

Maroney said the FSC proposal addresses the liquidity issue and removes barriers such as high cost and gives access to SMSFs to invest in an asset class that dovetails portfolios with economic need for infrastructure development.

FSC chief executive Sally Loane agreed: "Opening infrastructure investment to SMSFs and superannuation investors would democratise investment in critical domestic infrastructure, as well have the benefit of offering stable, predictable income streams to fund Australians' retirement."

"Stronger infrastructure investment would allow the National Cabinet and State Governments to turbocharge asset recycling to finance new job-creating infrastructure projects and create jobs."

Read more: SMSFSMSF AssociationFinancial Services CouncilJohn MaroneySally Loane
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