Valuation due diligence a trustee duty

Trustees must undertake reasonable steps to ensure an SMSF’s assets and investments can be valued fairly and objectively ahead of adding them to the fund, a technical expert has warned.

“It’s a question before you even go into the investment in the first place; that as a normal, prudent trustee knowing that you have to value [assets held by the fund] at particular points in time, you’d want to make sure that you can get a valuation when you need it for super law and tax law purposes,” Heffron SMSF Solutions technical services manager Leigh Mansell said during the firm’s quarterly technical update.

“It’s one of the things you need to take into consideration even before you buy the thing in the first place – can you actually get what you need [a fair valuation] when you need to get it?”

Mansell said unlisted entities were expected to be the difficult assets for valuations.

“You’d be relying on financial statements provided to you from the unlisted entity and you may not know the details of the precise assets that are held, so it might be harder to get that information,” she noted.

“But we need to have a crack at getting it so you can confidently come up with your process for working out what the value is.”

Heffron founder Meg Heffron added: “Even if you’re not getting a great deal of information from the people who are preparing the accounts for the unlisted entity, you must know what’s in it because you’ve invested superannuation fund money in it, so presumably you know what assets it holds.”

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