ASIC, Superannuation

ASIC ponders revised fact sheet

ASIC SMSF fact sheet

ASIC is still considering if it will release a revised SMSF fact sheet despite having updated information from the ATO on the cost of running a fund.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has yet to decide if it will reissue an SMSF fact sheet with revised costs for running a fund based on recently released ATO data.

ASIC Chair James Shipton said while the regulator had received the updated cost information from the ATO, which was released as part of its annual SMSF data, it had yet to examine how it would update the “stale” running cost information it had released in October 2019.

Shipton made the comments as part of a hearing into the oversight of the regulator conducted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee for Corporations and Financial Services and in response to questions from committee member and Liberal MP Jason Falinski as to whether it was incumbent on ASIC to issue a corrective release.

“You did issue a media release and there were stories to this effect. If you google this now it comes up saying that ASIC says running an SMSF costs $13,000. Don’t you think it is incumbent for a regulator to correct the record so that the appropriate, proper and accurate information is available to consumers to make these choices?” Falinski said.

The question was initially answered by ASIC commissioner Danielle Press, who said the regulator would take it on notice, with Shipton giving reasons for that response.

“We need to take it on notice to check the record, as it were, to make sure there isn’t anything that is unhelpful or misleading,” he said.

“Thank you for raising the issue because you are right and we can now say those numbers are stale and have been updated and can take on notice how best, if there is a need, to clarify and we will certainly do that.”

Press pointed out the initial fact sheet was a pilot document that was sent to new SMSF trustees in November 2019, which was mentioned in the last paragraph of the press release at the time, which also stated ASIC would survey a number of the SMSFs to assess the usefulness of the document.

“The document you refer to was a pilot document and run for about six weeks and sent to about 4000 new SMSF trustees. It has not been distributed since,” she said.

“We have conducted a sample about how new trustees received the fact sheet and whether they found it useful. What we heard was that a majority did, but no one changed their view [of SMSFs] and one person changed their mind.

“We do not intend to continue that program, so that red-flag SMSF sheet is no longer being distributed. If we change our mind on that, we will update our data to reflect new info from the ATO.”

Checks conducted by selfmanagedsuper, however, show the original press release and fact sheet are still available on the ASIC website and its consumer orientated website moneysmart also still carries the $13,000 cost figure for SMSFs.

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