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Chasing yield alone leads to high risk
When thinking about how to retire comfortably, about a third of SMSF trustees say their top goal is building a sustainable income stream, however chasing this very strategy can cause them to take on too much risk. Learn what traps to keep an eye out for.
Ask Colley on contributing for your spouse
Have you considered contributing for a spouse to even up your superannuation balances? There may be benefits for you to even them up to maximise super without running into the $1.6M super cap trap introduced on 1 July 2017. Getting even can pay dividends for your super!
Choosing the right managed fund for you
Managed funds are a great way to gain exposure to assets that you may otherwise not be able to access yourself, however deciding how and where to invest can be daunting. Here are some key factors to consider for the different type of funds and your life stage.
Can my SMSF buy my investment property?
A failure to understand property investment rules for SMSFs can have nasty consequences…in some circumstances getting it wrong could mean a year’s room and board in Her Majesty’s finest! This article outlines key aspects in determining whether an SMSF can buy an investment property.
Top 7 EOFY superannuation tips
A raft of new thresholds for superannuation kicked in on 1 July 2017, and not updating your super settings could be detrimental. The good news is there is still time to fine tune things. No-one likes the end of financial year (EOFY) panic, so here are 7 ways to get the most from your super.
Ask Colley on minutes and resolutions
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme answers “Do minutes and resolutions for my SMSF really matter?”. See the answer
The problem with investing passively for income
Historical data shows that there’s a fundamental flaw in investing passively for income, leading investors to taking on more risk for a lower yield premium. Equities expert Tom Young explains why this is the case.
Unpicking sentiment and how we use it to invest
Sentiment describes overall investor feeling towards a market or stock. It might seem a little vague, and yet used correctly, it is a powerful tool for deciding whether to buy or sell.
21 investment quotes worth knowing
Investing can be frustrating at times. The good news is that the basic principles are timeless, and some people are great at encapsulating these in an insightful and easy to understand manner. Here, Dr Shane Oliver shares 21 investment quotes that he finds particularly useful.
Diversification and correlation go hand in hand
What would you do if most of your investments fell in tandem? What if this happened when you were about to retire? Diversification can mitigate this risk, however achieving true diversification requires an understanding of correlation.
How to meet your retirement goals using multi-asset investing
With so much uncertainty in global markets, taking a multi-asset approach to investing can be a great way for investors to meet their retirement goals. Nader Naeimi, Head of Dynamic Markets, outlines why this is the case and shares 4 key investment principles to keep in mind.
Understanding managed funds - part one
Managed funds allow you to pool your money with other investors, so that you can invest in larger assets that may otherwise be out of your reach. Part one in a three-part series, aims to outline the different types of managed funds available to investors.
Ask Colley on SMSF recording keeping
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme answers “What records do I need to keep and when? And how long do they need to be kept for?”.
Debunking liquidity myths in unlisted funds and ETFs
Liquidity is often top of mind for SMSFs when it comes to investing in asset classes outside of equities. Liquidity in listed investments is often misjudged with more factors to consider than simply whether you can buy or sell shares in the fund.
What are technical indicators?
When it comes to investing, the term ‘technical analysis’ can cause many heads to spin. But the truth is that this is a frequently used tool for professional investors to help them decide which stocks to buy and when. This article explains technical indicators and how they can be used.
How SMSFs can reduce their longevity and sequencing risk
As SMSF trustees approach retirement, it’s essential you plan for two key risks: longevity and sequencing risk.
Ask Colley on the Transition to Retirement Income Stream
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley answers “I know there’s been changes to the Transition to Retirement Income Stream. If I’m a retiree of close to retirement age, what do I need to know?”
SMSFs – is it time to get professional advice?
In an ever-changing investment landscape, it can be hard to know when to seek professional advice for your SMSF.
How to remain focused on the longer term
Dr Shane Oliver, Chief Economist, outlines 6 recommendations to help investors remain focused on the long term.
Ask Colley on resetting the CGT cost base
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley answers “How do I decide whether it’s worthwhile to reset the Capital Gains Tax cost base of my fund?” – an important consideration for SMSF trustees with just over 3 months to go before 2016/17 tax and regulatory returns are due.
Self-managed super 101 - the basics
An SMSF is a trust that you control for your retirement which could offer more flexibility than other superannuation structures.
Is your portfolio as diversified as you think?
Portfolio diversification might be top of mind for many self-managed superannuation fund trustees, but recent research shows that the basic tenets of portfolio diversification might be broadly misunderstood.
The role of alternatives in a SMSF
One broad asset class that has received a substantial amount of attention ever since the financial crisis of 2007/2008 is alternatives.
How to play risk events this year
Risks aren’t going away – in fact, the risk of a share market correction is only likely to increase this year according to Dr Shane Oliver. Here, Shane shares his view on how to play these risks, along with a list of key events and expectations for investors to keep an eye on this year.
Ask Colley on SMSF pension strategies
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley answers “What are the different types of pension strategies I can consider for my SMSF?”.
SMSFs battle between capital growth and income
When it comes to making investment decisions, the battle between income and growth is nothing new for SMSFs that are protecting and simultaneously trying to grow their retirement nest eggs. Here, we unpick the findings of a recent survey to see what goals SMSFs are prioritising when it comes to investment selection.
How do I drive income with my SMSF?
In a low interest rate environment, it has become increasingly difficult for investors to find investments that produce a high level of income. However, there are still a number of options.
5 more common SMSF mistakes and how to avoid them
Following on from last week’s article, here are 5 more common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Ask Colley about the loss of a loved one and your SMSF
In this edition, Graeme Colley answers “what happens if the deceased has an SMSF – can it continue and what needs to be done?”
How to identify undervalued assets
Value investors are those seeking to invest whilst assets are undervalued, reaping the rewards when their value rises again. Here, Nader Naeimi, Head of Dynamic Markets, explains how to identify undervalued assets.
5 common SMSF mistakes and how to avoid them
There are a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to running your SMSF. Here, Graeme Colley shares 5 common mistakes for SMSFs and how you can avoid them.
The problem with the active versus passive debate
Returns from index funds versus those of active fund managers is often debated, however Sean Henaghan, Head of the Mutli Asset Group, believes this is the wrong argument. An advocate for investing in index funds in the right places, Sean sheds light on what many are missing in this ever-present debate.
Currency risk deserves more than a coin toss
More Australians are investing offshore, but for many investors, the decision to hedge currency exposure is often seen as a binary choice akin to a coin toss – heads or tails, hedged or unhedged. This choice can dramatically improve the risk-adjusted returns of their portfolio, so is there an ‘optimal’ level of currency hedging?
2 things you need to know about asset allocation
Asset allocation is one of the most important concepts in investing. It’s the notion that investing across a broad array of asset classes helps reduce the risk attached to a portfolio, and there are 2 important variables that can help you determine the right asset allocation for your SMSF.
Ask Colley on deductible contributions
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme answers “What do I need to know about the new rules relating to claiming a tax deduction if I’m making super contributions this year?”
Building a defensive component of your SMSF portfolio
When financial markets are volatile a defensive component of an investment portfolio becomes especially important. This article explores how to build the defensive component of your SMSF.
Five things SMSF trustees should consider right now
Into a new calendar year and more than half way through FY18, it’s a good time to take stock of the super reform issues. Here are five items for SMSF trustees to consider.
When a family member has to step in
There are a number of situations where a SMSF member or member’s children may be required to step in to manage the fund. If not correctly planned for, this can be a lengthy and costly process. This article outlines how SMSF members can avoid this process and best practices in doing so.
Set and forget…or not?
It can be tempting for investors to ‘set and forget’ their investments and strategy. Some investors buy and sell assets, constantly reacting to short-term market movements. But what’s the right approach for asset allocation within an SMSF?
Ask Colley on bitcoin
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley answers “What do I need to know if I’m including bitcoin in my SMSF?”.
Tips to drive SMSF returns this year
Sustainable, growing returns can be challenging in an environment where interest rates are low and growth is only just starting to pick up. Here a SMSF specialist adviser shares tips for SMSFs looking to drive returns in 2018.
SMSF health check: five factors to consider in 2018
A new year is a great time to review the way your SMSF is running and make any changes to ensure the structure continues to help you achieve your retirement wealth management goals. Here, we explore 5 essential factors to consider.
Investors should avoid extrapolating recent success
“When explaining science to my children, I often remind them that everything humanity learns, it builds on previous knowledge. Except in finance.” In this article, Roger Montgomery explains why extrapolating current conditions into the future is a mistake many investors make.
SMSFs and tax deductions: the facts
It can be tricky for SMSF trustees to understand the ins and outs of allowable tax deductions. So here we look at some recent legislative changes around tax deductions and SMSFs, and other factors to consider when tax planning around the fund.
Trustee spotlight: How Paul invests for retirement, whilst building an inheritance
In this trustee spotlight, Paul shares his portfolio approach, including how he builds wealth for two purposes, and learnings on how best to divide the running of his SMSF between himself and the experts.
Are you (or should you be) a sophisticated investor?
When certain criteria are met, you may be eligible to be classed as a 'sophisticated' investor. This opens up more opportunities compared to other retail investors, but it comes with risks.
Why we’re thinking about yield all wrong
An extended period of strong yields from fixed income has crafted a generation of investors shaped by the 'yield trade'. But times have changed and Greg Maclean, Head of Research (Infrastructure), provides 3 options for trustees investing for the years to come.
When it’s time to listen to the herd
Are we in bubble territory? Will there be a correction? You could spend every day looking at valuations and broker notes to form a view on whether the equities bull market is about to run out of steam, however Dr Shane Oliver has some other views on where to look for clues.
Making sure my money lasts as long as I do
Everyone wants to feel confident their retirement savings will be enough to support them throughout their entire lives. While the right amount will be different for everyone, there are lots of tips and tools to determine the right amount to retire on.
Ask Colley: Timing your retirement
In the last Ask Colley edition for 2017, Graeme Colley, Executive Manager at SuperConcepts, answers "When do you know it’s time to scale back on work and start living off your superannuation?"
What does the compulsory cashing rule mean for your succession planning?
As part of the recent super changes, the compulsory cashing rule changed how death benefits should be paid - a rule that trustees need to be aware of when succession planning.
Trustee spotlight: Dennis' learnings from 20 investments outside of his SMSF
Having only started his SMSF this year, Dennis Mason is a relatively new trustee. However he does take an active management approach to his 20 investments outside of super, and intends to use these learnings for investing within his SMSF.
What is the VIX index and how can SMSFs use it?
The VIX index has become a buzzword in financial markets. But its usefulness is often misunderstood by investors and taken as a general proxy for risk, which is a mistake. Nader Naeimi, Head of Dynamic Markets, explains the VIX index and how you can use it to assess investments.
Final event-based reporting rules released
The ATO has released the final guidelines around the new event based reporting rules that will allow SMSFs to see how their fund is tracking against the $1.6m transfer balance cap.
Trustee spotlight: Trevor’s advice on asset allocation and managing an SMSF from his 15 years of experience
Since starting his SMSF in 2002, Trevor has been burnt twice but this hasn’t stopped him from continuing to manage his SMSF. Trevor shares his experiences with changing his asset allocation, administration fees and how to drive the best return out of your SMSF.
Ask Colley: What happens if my partner passes away
In the third edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley, Executive Manager at SuperConcepts, answers "I have $900,000 in super and my partner has $1 million in super. If either of us were to die what do I need to be aware of?"
Three crucial mistakes about life expectancy
Life expectancy is an important subject, because if you're going to make your assets last a lifetime, you need to make some estimate about how long that lifetime may be. This article explores 3 drivers to understanding life expectancy.
4 things for SMSFs to check before 2018
With 2018 just around the corner, it is an opportune time for SMSFs to complete their annual required review of their investment strategy.
Paying a pension: alternatives for trustees
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only way you can pay a pension income stream is with cash. There are a number of ways SMSFs can pay a pension. Find out how different pension structures can affect your SMSF's long-term wealth.
Trustee spotlight: Learnings from The richest man in Babylon
Stephen Miller set up his SMSF in 1986, and credits his wealth management philosophy to the famous book, The richest man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.
Ask Colley: SMSFs below the $1.6m cap
In this edition of Ask Colley, Graeme Colley, Executive Manager at SuperConcepts, answers "I don’t have $1.6 million in superannuation or in retirement phase. How do the new rules from 1 July 2017 capping super at $1.6 million affect me?"
Should SMSFs consider the Shiller PE ratio when investing?
The Shiller PE ratio gives investors a chance to understand the earnings cycle over time. It's a long-term measure, which makes it dangerous if you refer to it to make short-term investment decisions.
Is your trust deed holding you back?
Aside from the right trustee structure, there are lots of other boxes the fund’s trust deed needs to tick.
Research shows trustee gender bias can impact SMSF returns
Peter Burgess, general manager, technical services and education, SuperConcepts, says it is important for SMSF trustees to be aware of the findings and consider them when making decisions about how to allocate their fund’s assets.
Have you appointed an enduring power of attorney?
Whomever you choose, it is essential they fully understand their responsibilities as a trustee of an SMSF.
Trustee spotlight: Near-bust experience prompts DIY approach
“I work in a high-pressured sales executive role now. I won’t retire fully, but I really love coffee and long-term I could be a barista and drop down to a much smaller salary because I will have that financial security behind me in my SMSF. Or I could travel and work part-time."
Ask Colley: New personal tax deduction rules
Welcome to the first in the series of fortnightly technical Q&As with Graeme Colley, SMSF Technical & Private Wealth Executive Manager at SuperConcepts. Follow the links at the bottom of this article to pitch your technical questions to Graeme for upcoming editions of SMSF News, the curlier the better.
What SMSFs need to know about the new ATO real time reporting
One of the rules is a new $1.6 million transfer balance cap that limits the value of assets in a super fund linked to a pension to this amount.
How to get CGT rules right
The first part of the decision-making process is around whether it will make sense is to determine whether the taxable income of your fund is determined on a segregated or unsegregated basis.
Trustee spotlight: Lessons from having our fund frozen
A difficult time for the Reids’ SMSF came when First Mortgage investments in WA collapsed in 1999 and their funds were frozen.
The SMSF domestic bias: is it time to accelerate global exposure?
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), to achieve a comfortable retirement a 65-year-old SMSF member needs $824,000 in assets.
Defined benefit pensions: new super rules change the game
Einfeld says there are very few people with total super balances of more than $1.6 million and a defined benefit pension in their SMSF.
Another five great charts on investing
Market timing is great if you can get it right, but without a process the risk of getting it wrong is very high and if so it can destroy your returns.
Trustee spotlight: Doug McPhillips uses his financial planning background to power his SMSF
For SMSF trustees, the idea is to use specialists such as accountants and actuaries to ensure the fund is compliant and meets its ongoing tax and admin obligations, play to their strengths and ensure it’s being run for the right reasons.
Why I’m betting against Warren Buffett on this one
Warren Buffett himself, the world’s most famous value investor, has outperformed the market over a very long time. Yet, even he has had protracted periods of lower than market returns.
Estate planning and SMSFs part two: common mistakes
This is the second in a two-part series that unpacks considerations self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees need to make when thinking through estate planning issues members may face.
How the pros review fund performance and reconfigure for success
Running a self-managed super fund means control. It also means responsibility to ensure the fund is achieving the outcomes set by its trustees.
Trustee spotlight: from flipping houses to managed funds
Sam says when he set up his SMSF he ensured his investment goals and strategies would allow him to be a self-funded retiree.
Estate planning and SMSFs part 1: when and how to plan
An SMSF member’s retirement and pension commencement is often an opportunity to review estate planning around the fund.
Investing for Income Series: Five drivers for finding income in today’s economy
Undertaking substantial research based on extensive analysis is key to identifying assets in this category.
Spicing up two main investment principles
The Australian bush ballad, ‘Said Hanrahan’, is more than a great tale. It should be upgraded to a new status as investment parable.
How to make the most of investment and economic research
In a world where people can be bombarded with information, AMP Capital Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist Shane Oliver recommends taking a strategic approach to investing.
Investing for Income Series: When you shouldn’t invest for income
Nevertheless, it’s always important to have the SMSF fund members’ long-term income needs in mind, no matter whether members are still working or if they have retired.
Using risk and volatility to power your SMSF
Risk is the potential for an investment’s return to differ from its expected return. All investments carry some risk their value will fall. At the same time, there’s always the potential for the return to be higher than expected.
Rolling your super fund into your SMSF
One of the most common mistakes people make is not having a clear investment strategy on receipt of funds into the SMSF.
Trustee spotlight: Martin Davis
“When it comes to overseas markets I don't invest directly, I leave it to the experts, who are better at managing currency fluctuation,” Martin explains.
Investing for Income Series: Laying the foundations for income strategically
Income is critically important to supporting an SMSF trustee's lifestyle, especially during retirement. In the second article of our Investing for Income Series, we explore how trustees can set up an investment strategy geared for income.
Trust deed health check
Trustees should generally refer to the trust deed to make sure it allows them to take certain actions. This includes the assets it can invest in and how disputes between members are handled.
Digital tools to simplify your SMSF’s management
We now live in a digital age and as a result, there are an array of tools that can help SMSFs administer their fund, learn about investing options and products, and find investment insights.
But what if shares crash? Understanding the difference between share price and value
In the financial media, there is a focus on explaining short term fluctuations in share price. Commentators often try to attribute every little rise and fall to a particular event or issue.
How to prepare your annual audit
It’s a legal requirement to have the fund’s financial accounts audited every year, even if no contribution has been made to the fund during the period.
Trustee spotlight: Bruce Foreman’s experience running an SMSF for over 22 years
Foreman says he is a conservative investor and tends to hold about three to four years of pension income in cash, with the remainder of the fund’s assets in shares and property.
Getting asset valuations right for SMSFs
The value of some of the fund’s investments may be easy to obtain, such as listed company shares and bank account balances.
Investing for Income Series: the fundamentals
In the first article of our Investing for Income Series, we explore the fundamentals of income-focused investing and how you can diversify your fixed income and cash investments in 2017.
What happens if you don't meet the work test?
Once you have met the work test you can make a contribution up to $25,000 concessionally – that is before tax – less any employer superannuation guarantee payment.
Figuring out fees: how to assess whether the fees you pay are worth the cost
Aside from keeping an eye on investment product fees, another way to manage SMSF costs is to take advantage of tax concessions available in the system.
What do commodities, infrastructure, and fine art have in common?
Self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors are increasingly seeking sources of return that are uncorrelated with the main asset classes of equities, property, fixed interest and cash. This helps them smooth out market cycles and protects their assets from the impact of volatile markets.
SMSF spotlight: Greg Maclean
Greg Maclean has run his self-managed super fund (SMSF) for 14 years. He established the fund after accepting a redundancy, using his payout to set it up, and has consistently achieved better than average performance with the fund.
Trustee vs trustee: resolving a dispute between SMSF members
There are clear processes to follow should conflict arise between members of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).
How much does it really cost to run an SMSF?
An SMSF typical costs about $1,800 a year to run. But the price can be as low $550 and a premium service can exceed $5,000,”
Finding tax-effective income sources
It’s important to recognise not all tax-effective investments are the same.
The perils of forecasting
It is always tempting to believe that you or someone else can perfectly forecast the market.
SMSF record keeping: Do you know the rules - and penalties?
So, you have an SMSF which you’ve (helped) run for maybe one, five or ten years, or even longer. The paperwork and records generated over that time can be huge. You know that the SMSF must keep records under superannuation law and income tax law, but the questions are where do you store them and how long must you keep them?
Is your SMSF really diversified?
A truly diversified self-managed super fund (SMSF) investment portfolio holds a mix of different assets across multiple asset classes, in varying weightings, which behave differently in different market conditions.
Intergenerational SMSFs: the pros & cons
While spouses are typically the members of a self-managed super fund (SMSF), it’s also possible to include other family members, for instance children.
Investing for a rainy day: how much should your SMSF invest for the future?
Knowing how much to invest for a time in the future and how much to put aside for today is a balancing act that’s important to get right in a self-managed super fund (SMSF).
The benefits of running your own super fund
There’s been a lot of talk about the upcoming super changes, whether you can make non-concessional contributions, moving super between accumulation and retirement phases, and resetting the CGT cost base of the fund’s investments.
How to earn a good return without too much risk
The risk reward trade off is one of the most important dynamics in financial markets.
What’s the right trade off between income and growth in an SMSF?
Achieving the right balance between income and growth assets is a key consideration for all self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees.
10 tips and traps when starting a pension
Starting and maintaining a pension in a self-managed super fund (SMSF) can be complex.
How to define spending goals in retirement
Retirees looking to develop a sustainable financial plan face a challenging technical problem, so it makes sense to simplify some of the inputs.
Four pillars of a successful SMSF
Running a self-managed super fund is a serious responsibility. Trustees must ensure they fully understand their obligations around the fund and how to discharge them. Here, we explore the four main pillars that support every well-run, compliant SMSF.
Managing downside risks in retirement with alternative assets
Managing assets in retirement presents a significantly different challenge from the accumulation of wealth phase. Retirees generally have less capacity for risk together with a reduced ability to rebuild wealth once they’ve started depleting assets by drawing off income and selling assets for living expenses.
SMSF 30 June checklist: need to know
It is time for self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees to act now, to ensure their fund complies with the new superannuation rules before they come into force on 1 July 2017.
Why ‘total superannuation balance’ is important for SMSFs
‘Total superannuation balance’ is a term all superannuation fund members should understand, especially those people with large balances. It will impact how much a person can contribute into their SMSF, whether they qualify for certain superannuation entitlements, and which method their fund can use to determine tax-exempt income from 1 July 2017.
Understanding dividends and ETFs
Self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors have been among the most enthusiastic of all supporters of both passive and Active Exchange-Traded Funds (Active ETFs).
What two investing insights would you give your 20-year-old self?
We asked investors and market experts for the top two investing insights they would give to their 20-year-old selves if they could go back in time.
Why Australians love dividends and franking
In no other country do shareholders love dividends as much as in Australia. Here are 10 key facts on dividends and franking, including one concluding piece of trivia.
Can transition to retirement strategies still work?
Transition to retirement (TTR) pensions were first introduced to assist people making the change from full-time work to part-time work.
Getting under the $1.6 million pension balance cap – which pensions should I choose?
For anyone who has more than $1.6 million in pension phase with just one pension, there’s no need to read further. However, if you are receiving more than one superannuation pension, then read on, especially if you expect your adult children to receive some or all of your superannuation benefits on your death or that of your spouse.
Five urban myths about super changes
Much of the conversation about the superannuation reforms relates to reducing pension balances to a person’s transfer balance cap, resetting the CGT cost base for investments and making last minute contributions before the caps drop on 1 July.
Defined benefit pensions and the transfer balance cap
For retirees with a defined benefit income stream, understanding how they will be impacted under the incoming superannuation reforms is a potential minefield. This article explains some of these complexities.
Super things to do for 2016/17
For SMSF trustees, 2016/17 will be a watershed compliance year.
Small APRA Funds: their role in an SMSF
A self-managed super fund (SMSF) is one of two main options open to Australian retail investors to take control of the management of their retirement savings.
Segregated vs. unsegregated funds – what’s the difference?
​The super changes starting on 1 July this year introduce new words to our superannuation vocabulary such as ‘transfer balance cap’, ‘personal transfer balance’ and ‘notional capital gain’.
Four things retirees must know about shares
Australian retirees have a love affair with shares, but not all share portfolios are created equal when it comes to providing sustainable income. This article focusses on the four things that pension-phase investors need to consider when investing in equities: tax, income, growth and regulations.
Cash: Avoid the ‘set and forget’ approach
Cash is sometimes the forgotten part of a SMSF fund portfolio, taking a back seat to sexier asset classes such as shares and property. But it is important to take as much interest in managing the cash component of an SMSF as it is for every other aspect of the fund.
Consider seeking advice to ensure your SMSF complies
There’s so much happening in the superannuation sector at the moment it can be hard for SMSF investors to know when they need advice and which aspects of the fund they can manage themselves.
Know your fund’s lifecycle to make the most of it
New research by the Self-Managed Super Fund Association (SMSFA) into the lifecycle of a SMSF has discovered a number of important points in the life of a fund of which trustees should be mindful.
SMSF Community: Exceptional access to experts
This is the second part in the series which looks at the SMSF Community and the role it can play in running your SMSF portfolio.
What should you do next?
Sticking to a value-driven investment strategy is difficult in a market fuelled by hope and buoyant expectations. At what point should investors forego the equity market rally to prepare for a possible correction?
SMSFs: what's the magic number?
New research has found a number of variables contribute to self-managed super fund outperformance.
When a company is a money pit
Not all business use their capital in the most productive way, and investors need to recognise when companies are struggling to generate cash flows to pay off debts when due.
Trust alternatives after 1 July super changes
Given the impending superannuation changes, it’s worth taking a fresh look at estate and superannuation succession planning arrangements.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare for retirement
Self-directed investors value being able to share ideas and explore regulatory changes, which is one of the reasons AMP Capital has established its SMSF Community.
Catch-up contribution measure brings new opportunity
Soon, a new measure will be in place to help boost retirement savings.
New regulations may make SMSFs dearer but better run
A self-managed super fund expert says the upcoming removal of a rule that allows accountants to provide certain simple advice to (SMSF investors may make running a fund more costly.
The ins and outs of the in-house asset rules – an exercise in sorting out forests and trees
One way of maximising the overall tax advantages provided by superannuation concessions is to use the investment rules, particularly the in-house assets rule, in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act (SIS Act) as effectively as possible.
Is the super withdrawal and re-contribution strategy over?
The advantages of using re-contributions to minimise taxable components within super will dry up after 1 July 2017, but those in a position to make the most of it now, should consider seeking advice and doing so.
New doors opening from 1 July
From 1 July 2017 onwards new superannuation measures will make it easier to save for retirement, particularly for those who’ve struggled to contribute in the past.
Making sense of new transition to retirement rules
Here we examine the potential impact for SMSF investors of the new rules around transition to retirement (TTR) pensions which are changing from 1 July.
What to consider when investing in derivatives
The role derivatives can play in a portfolio and the risks that should be considered when investing in them.
2017 investment themes
Here, we explore some ideas self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors might take into consideration for 2017.
Three top SMSF compliance tips for 2017
With so many new rules, the risk of non-compliance is higher. So here are three tips to keep in mind to ensure your fund stays inside the rules next year and beyond.
5 tips for a top SMSF in 2017
Here are five top tips for ensuring your SMSF is in the best shape it can possibly be in 2017.
SMSFs and the pension cap: a case study
Four questions every SMSF member with large balances should be asking in the run up to 30 June 2017. There’s enough here to warn not to leave understanding the rules until the last minute.
Ten ways to generate new investment ideas
Investors now have an unprecedented amount of information available to them to expand their knowledge base.
Eight key features of successful companies
There’s a lot more to identifying great small companies than the financials, and it pays to lift the lid on the underlying characteristics of the best businesses, including the people who run them.
Part 2: Building a better retirement nest egg: factors that influence retirement savings
This is the second in a two-part article series that examines the factors that contribute to building retirement savings.
Strategies for managing the new non-concessional caps
Many SMSF members are now re-thinking some of their investment strategies.
Building a better retirement nest egg: Part 1 - Factors that influence retirement savings
In 1970 the average person in the OECD spent two years in retirement. By 2012 this figure had increased to 15 years. Many workers in the developed world now spend as much of their life out of the workforce as they do in it. Given this change, saving enough for retirement is a pressing global issue.
What should you do if you receive a windfall?
Many people at some point in their life receive a windfall, perhaps from an inheritance, a redundancy payment or even a Lotto win.
When SMSF members head for the exit
We hear a lot about establishing an SMSF, but not much about exiting one. What are the options for SMSF members when the structure is no longer appropriate as a superannuation vehicle?
Don’t let anchoring lower your returns
In recent times investors have become much more aware of how their behaviours affect the way they invest. It’s become clear that certain biases affect our investment choices. Being aware of these biases is one way to reduce any potential negative impact they may have.
The role of alternatives in multi-asset portfolios
Alternative investments access a broader universe of assets that are outside traditional asset classes such as equities and bonds. These investments can include direct assets, such as private equity, real estate and agriculture.
Fixed interest and cash: what's the right approach to asset allocation?
With interest rates at record lows, but ongoing volatility in financial markets, deciding how to allocate funds to cash and fixed interest investments can be a tricky process for SMSF investors.
7 golden rules for SMSF investors to keep in mind
Investing during times of market stress and volatility can be difficult. For this reason it’s useful for SMSF investors to keep a key set of things – call them rules – in mind.
Asset allocation: insights from our expert
Asset allocation is one of the most important functions a SMSF trustee performs.
Three diversification mistakes – and how to avoid them
It’s important to understand the common mistakes investors make around true diversification, and what they can to address them.
How family trusts and SMSFs work together
Family trusts have come back onto the radar of SMSFs following the recent budget announcements that limit the amount of money that can be contributed to a super fund and still receive preferential tax treatment.
SMSF and death benefits: what are the rules?
There are strict rules that apply when one member of a SMSF dies, and it’s important to understand what these are if you are a member of an SMSF.
Market winners outperform losers again
In this update of the ‘winners versus losers’ investment hypothesis, momentum is the winner – again. It’s only a ‘paper’ portfolio but it suggests consistent behavioural biases among investors.
How to prepare for an ATO audit
Since 1 July 2014, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has had enhanced powers to penalise SMSF trustees whose funds are found to breach regulations that relate to these structures.
Ensuring your SMSF can meet your cash flow needs in retirement
Cash is king in every context, and none more so than in the superannuation environment when it’s the lifeblood of every retiree’s post-work income.
How to increase the diversification of your SMSF
SMSFs are slowly becoming more diversified, but there is still substantial work to do before most are genuinely diversified, as the ATO’s figures show.
The role of alternatives in an SMSF
One broad asset class that has received a substantial amount of attention ever since the financial crisis of 2007/2008 is alternatives.
How to take advantage of market volatility in your SMSF
With volatility becoming an ongoing feature of markets, its important not to be fearful of it and instead embrace volatility by conditioning yourself to it from the outset.
The case for dynamic asset allocation in a low-return world: part 2
A key lesson from the GFC is just how important having a flexible asset allocation is to investment risk and returns.
The case for dynamic asset allocation in a low-return world: part 1
The financial crisis of 2007/2008 focused attention on traditional approaches to asset allocation and portfolio construction.
Managing your SMSF in the current regulatory environment
There was a raft of announcements at the May federal budget that could impact the SMSF sector should the Senate pass these proposals later this year.
Banks adjust to new operating environment
For many SMSF investors, local banks form an important part of their investment portfolio. While banks have delivered strong performance and good dividends in the past, many of the variables that impact their earnings have changed in recent years.
Building a defensive component for your SMSF portfolio
When financial markets are volatile a defensive component of an investment portfolio becomes especially important.
How to simplify management of your SMSF
Running a self-managed super fund does not have to be complex as long as the trustees ensure at the outset the structure is set up in the most streamlined way possible.
10 factors to watch when buying expensive shares
Value investors often shun expensive shares with high price to earnings ratios, only to watch prices continue to push ahead. What should investors look for to avoid missing these opportunities?
Decision time for SMSFs on proposed super changes
If proposed super changes are enacted many SMSFs may need to reconsider which method they use for claiming exempt current pension income.
Using managed funds to express your investment views
How investors might choose to use managed funds in their SMSF portfolio.
Cash is king when the market holds the aces
Cash gives options over future lower prices, and it avoids the risk of permanent capital loss. But it comes with another risk, the loss of purchasing power, and is not a good long-term investment.
Will roboadvice exterminate traditional advisers?
Roboadvice will increase the size of the advice market and bring vital tools to financial advisers, and while face-to-face advice will always have a role, some rationalisation will occur within the industry.
Educating all members of an SMSF
Tips for trustees to ensure all members of their SMSF are fully engaged.
10 hints on realising capital losses for EOFY
Anyone with capital gains from property or shares should scan the rest of their portfolio for possible offsetting capital losses, always being wary of the ATO’s wash sale provisions.
How do I drive income with my SMSF?
Income-producing investments for SMSF trustees to consider.
How do I devise my SMSF investment strategy?
An SMSF’s investment strategy is the backbone of the fund. Without one, the trustees won’t know what to invest in and the fund will have no way of meeting its investment goal.
SMSF assets will not need segregating
SMSFs transferring funds to a tax-free pension account under the proposed cap of $1.6 million will not need to sell or segregate assets from an accumulation account for the same member.
Term deposits: safe or risky for SMSF investors?
Bank term deposit rates are set to remain lower for longer so it makes sense to continue to look elsewhere for income.
What to consider when planning your retirement goals
A retirement goal sets out when you plan to retire, how much you plan to have when you retire, and what standard of living that will enable you to achieve.
4 common SMSF mistakes and how to avoid them
Running a self-managed super fund (SMSF) can be complex and time-consuming, especially given the raft of regulations that apply to SMSF funds.
Federal Budget Technical Briefing – what you need to know
Last night’s Federal Budget contained a number of proposals that will impact SMSF trustees
Budget implications for SMSFs
It promised to be an eventful night for the superannuation industry and last night’s Federal Budget didn’t disappoint, with a number of important changes being announced to the superannuation tax concessions.
2 things you need to know about asset allocation
Two important variables when it comes to asset allocation are the time horizon and risk appetite of SMSF investors
What’s your risk profile?
The importance of understanding your risk profile.
What are my responsibilities as a trustee?
An interview with SMSF trustee P. Reed
A tax-effective complement to super
Superannuation’s current tax benefits are far from certain given the government’s need for more revenue. Changes are likely to increase the competitiveness of investment bonds (sometimes called insurance bonds).
Dividends: more is less, less is more
While investors like receiving healthy dividends, it’s money that the company can then no longer use for capital growth. Less can really be more if there are better growth prospects with lower dividends.
Are you ignoring the advantages of a corporate trustee structure?
A corporate trustee structure may offer SMSFs greater certainty than an individual structure.
SMSFs need care dealing with related parties
Transacting with related parties within an SMSF needs careful attention to avoid contravening the law. It can be tricky working out who is a related party, but doing everything at arm’s length is a good start.
I am hot! And I am bothered!
As interest in mortgage funds looks to grow, are investors considering the risk of illiquidity and the importance of time horizon?
Investing in the best long-term founders
The success of companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Google is a result of a talented and dedicated founder leading the way. Their long-term vision drives innovation and pushes past set-backs along the way.
Tell us what you think
As part of our continued efforts to bring you new insights, tools and products, we are exploring a number of new ideas. Here is your chance to have a say.
In share investing, perception is reality
The problem with successful long-term investing is the constant availability of financial data, media commentary, and the ease with which a portfolio can be traded. That’s where a change in perception can help.
Managing portfolio ‘tail risk’: some common pitfalls
Fundamental risk overlay (FaR) helps manage tail risk in portfolio returns
Oh dear, not another glitch with borrowing in SMSFs
Purchasing shares for your SMSF under a highly-leveraged Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement should take into account the ATO’s 45-day rule, or risk losing the imputation credits.
Understanding ASX market trading periods
Many people get confused when it comes to the market trading periods that exist beyond the official ‘opening’ and closing’ times of the ASX
The story of your life viewed through your SMSF
Your SMSF story reflects your life’s journey, and real people telling real stories encourage the popularity of this super structure. It’s something the retail and industry funds have struggled with.
SMSFs need to make more informed investment decisions
A well-informed and strategic approach to selecting active managers often delivers an attractive payoff
Is there a future for active management?
Changing market dynamics have created both challenges and opportunities for active managers.
What to do with your equity portfolio in 2016
Bottom line is to invest in strong businesses and be patient. if you ignore everything else in 2016 and you should do well over the long run
A lifetime of investing insights
Looking back over the last quarter of a century, the main theme – despite the enormous changes during the period – has been history repeating itself
SMSF calendar of key lodgement dates
In this article, we highlight some of the key lodgement dates and major obligations for self-managed super funds for the balance of this financial year.
What’s your ‘super’ purpose?
One problem with defining a single and universal purpose of superannuation is that people have contributed to super for years, even decades, with different ideas and intentions.
Take care when assisting parents financially
Many children have more money than their parents ever had, but when providing financial assistance, consider all possible scenarios and document intentions to avoid pain if relationships deteriorate.
4 things to look for in a compliance provider
Your ideal provider will depend on your fund and the other experts you already have on your team.
Avoid short-termism: Top tip for SMSF investors
Take a long-term approach
Importance of updating your SMSF Trust Deed
Your SMSF Trust Deed is an important document, governing what the trustees are allowed to do. As superannuation laws change, so too must the Trust Deed, or you risk having a non-compliant fund on your hands.
How to drive real returns
Today’s investment backdrop is dominated by low bond yields and sluggish growth. In this article, we discuss how investors can materially improve the potential for superior return outcomes.
Long-term investing: the destination is better than the journey
One of the key elements of successful investing is patience
5 steps to an easier SMSF
Is the thought of your next SMSF annual audit filling you with dread? Take the pain out of the process with these five simple steps.
Diversification is the foundation of a solid portfolio
A quick and simple demonstration of how diversification reduces the volatility of returns, which should be of interest to investors concerned about capital preservation nearing retirement.
Anchoring holds back your investing
Anchoring refers to a common human tendency to make judgements based on the first piece of information received. In relation to investing, it makes us focus on irrelevant factors when making decisions to buy or sell equities.
Is your SMSF protecting your assets?
Most of us choose to set up an SMSF so we can take control of our superannuation. But did you realise your fund can also play a vital role in protecting your hard-earned assets?
Dealing with time zones when pricing global ETFs
When Exchange Traded Products that track international markets are priced on the ASX, the closing price of the underlying offshore market often varies from the opening price here.
Retirement: Making income the outcome
To give superannuation the best chance of providing the desired retirement income, it makes sense to manage for the relevant risks over time and protect investments from inflation.
6 SMSF compliance checks: should you go it alone?
SMSF trustees have six core responsibilities when it comes to compliance.
2 major changes affecting SMSFs
The SMSF market is facing two important changes: AFSL requirements for accountants who advise SMSF clients and the ATO closing a loophole on interest-free loans provided to SMSFs by its members.
Busting tax myths for better reform
A look at some misconceptions around superannuation, negative gearing and capital gains tax and suggested ways to make our tax system fairer through better tax reform. It’s a debate we need to have.
3 tips for investing in the current market
Remain calm but to continue to build portfolio defences.
The biggest rort of all
Market performance and outperformance can come from many sources, but the main thing to watch for is that you’re not paying high ‘alpha’ fees simply to achieve market ‘beta’ returns.
5 tips to help your retirement savings last the distance
Ensure that your portfolio continues to grow in retirement.
How safe is my super from rule changes?
After a strong run for house prices, changes in bank and regulatory policies will take some steam out of the market. For the longer term good of the market, it may be better to have a pause while fundamental values catch up.
Making sense of stock recommendations
Financial information comes from many different sources, with one often contradicting another. Be selective with the investment newsletters you receive to ensure they align with your investment style and goals.
Tips for a smooth SMSF audit
If your SMSF financial statement is found to be in breach, there’s no need to panic. This article discusses what happens during an audit and provides tips to help the process run smoothly.
4 key thematic investments to follow
Thematic investing is all about tailoring your portfolio to suit the trends that resonate at an individual level. This article discusses this investment concept and four of the themes currently trending.
How to maintain your lifestyle in retirement
There is a lot to consider when it comes to calculating how much you’ll need to cover your lifestyle in retirement.
What really drives returns?
Asset allocation determines the bulk of investment outcomes.
Why it pays to start investing early
Deciding which assets to invest in is never easy. We share some fundamental principles that will help you make successful choices when investing for the long term.
Don’t fall for these five SMSF myths
If you’re thinking of setting up an SMSF or already running one, you’ve probably heard these common SMSF myths. It’s time to set the record straight.
SMSFs investing in overseas real estate
While it is possible for an SMSF to invest in overseas real estate, staying on the right side of the superannuation law and regulations in the foreign country may be more trouble than it’s worth.
High Net Worth and Family Office investment practices - what makes them different?
In contrast to the way institutions make investment decisions, family offices and high net worth investors display high levels of engagement and often have their unique non-financial objectives to satisfy.
The world changes, then stays the same
The investment landscape might have changed dramatically over the past 25 years, but SMSF investors can still rely on many of the same principles from the past to make sound investment decisions in the present.
How are the returns on your equity?
An important ratio for analysing companies is the ‘return on equity’. While it may seem to be a simple measure of the earning power of a business, it can tell much more about how a business is truly performing.
Three rules to invest by
Here are three simple investment rules that should see you through the volatile times, or indeed all times. For SMSF investors, it’s a good idea to have a plan, and a portfolio that suits you.
Lifecycle funds increase super engagement
Engaging people with their superannuation is the holy grail for the wealth management industry. Lifecycle funds can help take the customer on a long term journey provided the communication is good.
Why global? More choice and cheaper pizza
Investing in global opportunities allows a portfolio to benefit from trends and industries that are not available in Australia, and even when a company is listed here, it may be cheaper overseas.
Are you benefiting from insurance in super?
Holding insurance inside superannuation can be very tax effective – primarily due to the various concessions available when making superannuation contributions.
Impact investing: wealth creation with a social return
Impact investing is a growing field that is helping to address many of society’s most pressing challenges. It aims to achieve a financial return, as well as positive social, cultural or environmental impacts.
Lessons in value over growth shares
If you had to choose between investing in the bright future of a high-tech, disruptive stock or a consistent, old-economy stock, which would you prefer? It comes down to what you expect in return.
Are you spending your life well?
The last major stage of life is a chance to do something we are passionate about. In ‘elderhood’ (post-adulthood) we have the time and relative freedom to make more choices, for as long as our health allows.
4 tactics to build an investment portfolio that supports your retirement wishes
Learn strategies to help you focus on long-term wealth accumulation, so you can fund your aspirations for retirement.
Company share price falls – buying opportunity for investors
Long term investors look forward to market-wide falls because good companies are sold off along with the rest. It gives a chance to buy into companies that were previously considered too expensive.
Do you know when to buy and sell shares?
Once you have formed a view on the intrinsic value of a company, you can cut through the noise of fashion and sentiment to strengthen your portfolio, buying shares when undervalued and perhaps selling when overpriced.
What does the current yield curve tell us?
A range of factors determine interest rates, and the yield curve reflects expectations of the future. Even if interest rates looks low, waiting to invest is attempting to outguess the market.
High yielding stocks – no silver bullet for retirement plans
High yielding stocks are often seen as the silver bullet for retirement plans. But in many circumstances the focus on income overlooks the need to consider return and risk in any investment decision.
4 investment principles for dynamic asset allocation
Principles that have passed the test of time to help you make investment decisions under a dynamic asset allocation approach.
Is bank bias worth the risk?
The Big 4 banks make up nearly 30% of the Australian share index – are you overexposed? Find out what the risks are and steps to address risk concentration.
Corporate bonds – the right defensive play?
Corporate bonds play an important defensive role in an investment portfolio.
Negative gearing review
The majority of Australians using negative gearing earn less than $80,000 a year, and it’s part of a long term wealth creation strategy that should be encouraged, especially with such uncertainty about pensions and super.
ATO’s SuperStream is making super contributions simple
For small employers (19 or fewer employees), 1 July 2015 marked the start of SuperStream. Although you have until 30 June 2016 to make the change, you should start preparing now.
What constitutes a diversified investment portfolio?
As SMSF investors have unique investment needs, the mix of assets they hold in their investment portfolio will determine whether these needs are met.
The benefits of low turnover for after-tax outcomes
In Australia, fund manager performance is most often assessed on pre-tax returns. But a low portfolio turnover can potentially provide better after-tax returns relative to a high turnover actively managed fund.
5 tips to transition your investment strategy for retirement
Some guidelines to keep in mind when considering your retirement investment strategy.
Retirement income products – what’s ideal?
The superannuation industry has grappled with how to offer attractive retirement solutions, but lessons from overseas suggest some form of risk sharing to cover variable life expectancy will be needed.
3 tips for investing in the new financial year
Identify your strategy and stick with it
Do franking credits matter?
Imputation is seen as a costly tax break for domestic shareholders with minimal associated benefits for the overall economy, but any changes to the system should consider some broader consequences.
Understanding foreign exchange risk
Investing in foreign assets brings with it foreign currency exposure. Your return not only depends on the performance of the asset but on changes in the exchange rate, which can work against you or for you.
The importance of your personal credit report
Understanding what information is held on a consumer’s credit report can provide a pathway for negotiating better credit terms, whether or not a person has a strong credit history.
Where to for super? David Murray at the Retirement Incomes Forum
The Sustainable Retirement Incomes Forum produced much lively debate and a focus on superannuation providing income in retirement and not wealth accumulation.
Survey of attitudes to taxing pension earnings
A survey of high net worth people showed many were willing to accept such a policy, but not without a healthy level of qualification.
Making the most of tax loss selling
As we approach the end of the financial year, don’t put off selling the chronic under-performers that are weighing you and your investment portfolio down.
Top 10 hints for SMSF trustees before 30 June
As 30th of June approaches there are many things SMSF trustees should consider to make the most of their SMSF.
The need for retirement income reform
The decision by the Hawke-Keating Government to introduce the superannuation system was visionary.
What exactly is the ATO’s role in SMSFs?
In 1999 the regulation of SMSFs was moved from the Superannuation and Insurance Commission (subsequently APRA) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Be clear on investment goals
Retirees concerned about the latest cut to the official cash rate need to clearly identify their investment goals.
SMSF trustees have longer lives and more certainty
One of the greatest risks facing retirees today is the uncertainty over how long they might live.
Low rates and the equity risk premium
Over the course of the past year, RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens has bemoaned the low level of entrepreneurial risk-taking across Australia’s corporate sector and implored businesses to invest for future growth prospects.
Disruptive technology in banking
While banks have been focussing on getting ready for Basel 3 and dealing with legacy legal issues from the Global Financial Crisis, there has been a seismic shift happening under their noses.
Value of tax-aware investment management
To mark the launch of the S&P/ASX Franking Credit Adjusted Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices recently held a series of panel discussions on tax-aware investment management (TAIM).
Retirement catches most people unplanned
Few issues in retirement planning have received more attention in recent years than life expectancy and longevity. Most people can expect to live to 90 or 100 years, which could mean 30 years in retirement, financed by either a meagre government pension or personal resources.
Income-seekers: these ‘myths’ could come back to haunt you
It’s late in a decades-long bond rally, and it’s safe to say that the current, ultra-low interest rate environment is messing with our heads.
Collectable and personal use assets in SMSFs
Did your SMSF purchase fine wine, a vintage car, a jet ski, or artwork prior to 1 July 2011?
The Ten Commandments of Transformation
If Heaven had been an investment bank...
6 things to consider: investing for retirement
Many people aged between 50 and 65 are uncertain about being able to cover living expenses in retirement. Some will choose to extend their work years while others may need to accept lower than desired living standards in retirement.
How to choose the right global equities
The Australian Treasury’s 2015 Intergenerational Report released a few weeks ago makes for mixed reading. Australians are likely to live longer, which is good news. But this also means they will need more income for a longer retirement, which can be challenging.
Corporate governance: 6 themes that SMSF investors should know about
AMP Capital has long been a pioneer in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) space. Our latest insights are presented in the March 2015 corporate governance report, which is now available.
This is mean (-reverting that is)
Fundamentals might not be making a lot of sense right now, but sooner or later mean reversion will kick in. Nobody knows the timing but you should be standing near the exit doors to take advantage of it.
Timeless investing: tools to help you stay focused on your investment strategy
Given the continued volatility in investment markets, it’s no wonder some investors develop mixed feelings about investing in shares.
Where to put your money these days
Investment conditions across all asset classes are especially challenging at the moment, with investors struggling to find attractive yields or capital appreciation while managing risk.
SMSFs drop the ball on risk in asset allocation
Bonds have the most predictable returns of any asset class, yet they are often maligned and misunderstood by market commentators who call them risky. Follow the 13-year life of this April 2015 bond and decide for yourself.
Can an SMSF run a business?
It’s tempting for an SMSF trustee to try to offset capital losses from share sales against other income by becoming a share trading business. It’s not easy to satisfy the provisions of superannuation law.
Is this the end of the traditional term deposit?
A recent change to banking regulation has significant implications for term deposits. With 31+ day break or notice clauses becoming more common, a large difference in deposit rates is expected.
Searching for yield to pay the bills
Whilst the latest cut in the target cash rate to 2.25% is a positive move for equity investors, it’s a negative for savers, especially retirees living off the income generated by their term deposits.
Squeezing blood from a stone
We question whether mining companies are in a position to produce a steady stream of dividends.
Investing and bike riding share similar cycles
Road cycling has an enthusiastic following among the corporate set, particularly within the investment community. Investing and cycling have much in common, especially after sitting in the saddle for a few days.
Retirement spending: set the bar lower
Lower spending strategies and the right investment options are crucial to giving superannuation members the best chance of making their super last for an average 25 year retirement.
Tax paid by your SMSF can be returned to your dependants
How would you like the tax paid by your SMSF to be returned to your dependants upon your death? In some cases, an anti-detriment payment can make it possible.
A beginner’s guide to peer to peer lending
Advances in technology have allowed peer to peer lending to thrive, offering credit to more potential borrowers at lower interest rates than those offered by banks. How does it work and will it last?
The opportunity cost of low fee structures
Beware the investor who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. While fees are important, fund managers should ultimately be evaluated based on their ability to add value to a portfolio.
Capital management techniques in LICs
Many capital management techniques are used by LICs in an attempt to narrow or eliminate the discount at which the price trades relative to net tangible assets – all with varying success.
Why long term investing is not easy
Long term investing makes sense for the majority of investors who have time on their side, but it isn’t always easy. Unexpected events will test your resolve so it’s important to know how to improve your chances
How exposed are you to Australian banks?
Changes arising from the Financial System Inquiry are designed to safeguard depositors and taxpayers in the event of financial distress. However, the additional capital requirements for banks, including increased loss-absorbing hybrid capital, could adversely impact future cashflows investors could expect from banks.
Thematic investing - an alternative to benchmarks?
In today’s financial markets there is perhaps too much information, too much choice, too much opportunity, and unfortunately too many pitfalls. Cutting through all the conflicting opinion and advice can be hard work and requires a lot of discipline
Keep your investments on track this new year
Attitudes towards investing are changing. There is a reduced focus on high returns and star managers. Investors are increasingly looking for confidence that they have the appropriate strategies to help them meet their personal objectives.
The ‘big question’ for asset allocation
The holiday season provides a rare opportunity to ponder the ‘big questions’ in life. For this investment professional, it’s the chance to think about the one ‘big question’ that has fascinated and puzzled him for 30 years.
Benefits of long term investing
Part two in the series on long term investing sets out its advantages and the associated strategies available. Long term investing is not easy, but one rather distinct advantage is the prevalence of short term investors.
Take no income from the best companies
Take Australia’s largest generational cohort, the baby boomers – all desperate for income – and then feed them some of the lowest interest rates on their cash in history. Before doing that, engineer a stock market crash, just a few years earlier, ensuring they have a disproportionately large amount of their remaining wealth sitting in said cash.
Currency hedging for international equity portfolios
With recent volatility in the value of the Australian dollar, investor attention is drawn to the topic of currency hedging. What impact does currency have on an international equity portfolio for an Australian investor?
Longevity risk solutions for retirees
The FSI’s Interim Report observed that the retirement phase of super-annuation is underdeveloped and does not meet the risk management needs of many retirees. The most difficult of these risks to manage is longevity.
What is a ‘long-term investor’?
Being a long-term investor isn’t always about holding securities for a long time. It’s more about being able to make investment decisions that optimise the long-term result.
The Yin and Yang of retirement income philosophies
In the world of retirement income planning, there are two major opposing schools of thought: probability-based and safety-first. Understanding their distinctions is important in achieving the best outcomes.
Culture and competitive advantage
In a good company, culture drives the businesses strategy. It guides the way employees work together. And ultimately, culture shapes the type of experience a firm delivers to its employees and clients.
Keeping track of ‘superannuation interest’ is critical
Keeping track of each superannuation interest may be a nightmare for some accountants, financial planners and DIY clients, but failure to do the right thing may lead to catastrophe for the client or their dependants.
Making your SMSF business a saleable practice
With the advent of new licencing rules and the focus on the rapid growth of SMSF’s, many accounting and planning firms are considering what their involvement should be in the SMSF space.
Robert Merton on retirement incomes and Jane Austen
Nobel laureate Robert Merton is on a global crusade.
Where to for Australia’s discretionary retailers?
"The consumer's dormant animal spirits and intense retail competition (particularly from e-tailers) are reflected in the fact that sell-side analysts have not lifted their EPS projections for the discretionary retail sector for over four years now."
Set yourself to benefit from compounding
If you get onto the compounding bandwagon from a young age, the balance of your superannuation, as well as other savings, come retirement will astound you. It’s a shame more people aren’t maximising the opportunit
Good active managers are hard to identify
The SPIVA Australia Scorecard measures the performance of actively-managed funds compared with the relevant S&P indexes. Results from the most recent Scorecard are not pretty for active managers.
There’s more to risk aversion than most planners realise
Financial risk aversion is usually measured via a questionnaire compiled by an adviser, which provides a one-dimensional numerical measure. But this does not cover all there is to learn about a client’s aversion to risk.
Searching for the post retirement silver bullet
The ideal post retirement product for many combines capital protection with the potential for growth, without high fees and capital charges. The search for the silver bullet goes on.
The financial risks of fossil fuel investments
Looking at the big picture, the world will gradually move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Progress will be slow and timing uncertain, but investments will need to adapt to the change in energy usage.
How do you change a two-member SMSF?
The majority of SMSFs have just two members, typically husband-wife. One of the most common problems with an SMSF is what happens if one member dies or becomes incapacitated.
Retirement is not for bludgers
With years in retirement increasing and the tendency of modern retirees to be fitter and healthier, we find there’s more to life than sitting back and watching the world go by. In fact, it’s almost impossible.
Investing in car spaces? Park that idea
When the NSW Government announced some apartments will no longer be required to have car spaces, real estate agents predicted rising prices for existing spots. They overlooked one nasty little cost for investors.
The case for equities in retirement
As more people live longer in retirement, income from super and other assets needs to stretch further to ensure a comfortable lifestyle. History makes a strong case for some allocation to equities despite the volatility.
Building more relevant Australian share portfolios
Australian index-based equity portfolios are often concentrated by company and sector. Some other goal-based strategies might be a better fit for your investments but clients and advisers will need to drive this change.
AMP Capital adds Global Infrastructure to SMSF Suite
AMP Capital adds Global Infrastructure to SMSF Suite
Does your will treat your super fairly?
When writing your will, take care to understand the tax consequences of the benefits paid to your beneficiaries, especially when a life policy is involved. Your estate could be left with a hefty tax bill.
The guide to offshore investing
Australia has had the best performing stock market in the world over the last decade. Over the next decade it may not be as easy to generate such strong returns.
Where are fund managers are seeing strength or weakness?
Following the recent corporate reporting season we asked four fund managers to share some of the insights they observed from the reports of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Specifically, we were interested in finding out if they were observing specific pockets of strength or weakness in the domestic economy. These are their responses…
Why we can’t resist tactical asset allocation
A combination of confidence in one’s own ability to read the market and the excellent rewards for correct predicting sees many investors employing tactical asset allocation strategies. But is it a waste of time?
Cheap stocks: how to find them and how to buy them
It’s surprising to learn that only 25% of Australian listed companies are actually profitable. Whether you favour fundamental or technical analysis or both, how do you find and invest in cheap, good quality companies?
Tax and the financial planning process
A perfect tax system would not affect how people save and invest, but in practice, there are many ways that Australia’s tax system influences investor behaviour.
Five retirement myths doing more harm than good
Australia’s super industry has confused or complicated the primary purpose of providing for retirement by fostering these five retirement myths. While some are based on truths, others are not worth believing
Superannuation and terminal illness, disability and death
The benefits received from super if premature death, terminal illness or permanent injury prevent you or your spouse from working to retirement age vary in their conditions and taxation, so it’s good to be informed early
What types of people should manage your money?
Different styles of investing are suited to different types of people. Knowing which style is best suited to your character and temperament can make a big difference to your investment outcomes.
What makes a company attractive?
While fund managers are reluctant to reveal their newly-found ‘top picks’ to the public, there is an underlying process which can be used to identify an attractive company to invest in.
There’s growth, and then there’s growth
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it necessarily a duck? That’s the mindset that is sometimes required to understand the revenue growth numbers being reported by companies at this time of year.
Why the FSI should interest SMSF members
Every SMSF owner should take an interest in David Murray’s Financial System Inquiry because it asks some fundamental questions including issues around limitations, tax breaks, contribution limits and more.
Watch those unexercised options in LICs
Listed Investment Companies have enjoyed great investor support in the last year, but the structure usually comes with ‘free’ options to buy more shares. The impact of these options can trap the unwary.
There’s more than one way to fund a retirement
If you’re 40 or under you won’t have access to the age pension, and perhaps even your super, until you are 70. Unless you’re prepared to work until then, you’ll need enough money outside super to live on.
Long-term investors fail to reap their natural advantage
Despite similar objectives, the proportion of Australian superannuation assets in alternative and less liquid assets is much lower than for other long-term investors such as family offices and global pension funds.
Confusion with financial planner brands
The branding of financial planners is causing confusion among consumers, according to a recent report by Roy Morgan Research. Many clients are unaware when the ownership structure involves one of the major banks.
Resetting investor expectations
In part 2 of the great fee debate, it’s the investors’ turn to reassess their expectations regarding management and performance fees, and to understand what it takes to find (and pay for) top managers.
How to put money away regularly for your kids
There are many investment options for children beyond a savings account, but the merits of each are different for everyone. Here’s some guidance for parents of both younger and older kids.
Investing and jogging for the long run
There are more than a few similarities between running and investing. Success in either discipline is about having specific goals and strategies, avoiding the big risks, and not diverting from your plan.
Deep dives make better investment decisions
Company releases relating to acquisitions, mergers or divestments, by nature, have the objective of painting a positive outlook. A deeper dive into the facts allows us to make more educated investment decisions.
Different risks and benefits in SMSF gearing
The use of leverage within SMSFs has come under heavy scrutiny lately with strong arguments for and against. Some forms of ‘protected’ gearing can help manage risk, demonstrating that not all gearing is the same.
Understanding the bring forward rule
If you want to make the most of the recently increased superannuation personal contribution limits, here is a timely explanation of how to use the ‘bring forward’ rule to your advantage.
Learn your knowns and unknowns
When investing capital, you expect the return to adequately compensate you for the likelihood of loss. Understanding both risk and reward is vital, so the more you know about ‘knowns’ and ‘unknowns’ the better.
Sectors and stocks that could surprise this reporting season
As we approach August reporting season do you see one stock or sector that could surprise to the upside or downside?
The defined contribution obsession with liquidity
Australia’s defined contribution superannuation market seems to be obsessed with ‘liquid’ investments. For the long-term investment that super inherently is, it doesn’t make sense to limit our options.
Home & Retirement Planning Calculator
Thinking about retirement can be both exciting and difficult. Find out the options you have to create a better retirement in 3 quick steps.
Why would you invest in junk?
Sub-investment grade investments, or ‘junk bonds’, pay well but carry a higher risk of default. If the risk is managed properly, a broad portfolio of high yield securities can be a worthwhile investment option
Making sense of performance statistics
Fund managers often quote statistics to explain their performance, but what do they really mean, and how can we make useful comparisons?
Just what is a re-contribution strategy?
A withdrawal and re-contribution strategy involves accessing your super and re-contributing some or all of it back into your SMSF as a non-concessional contribution (i.e. all tax-free).
Diversification’s focus moves to matching future needs
Diversification thinking has evolved from risk and correlations to a focus on matching the future expected liabilities of an investor. It can change the way assets are allocated.
Think about risks as well as returns
We focus far more on the return from our investments rather than the risk, and we should watch for leverage or high risk-taking and expect to be rewarded for it to pay for the added risk.
Financial flexibility key to meeting aged care costs
Important changes to aged care costs come into effect on 1 July 2014. They highlight the importance of having the financial flexibility to make the system work in your favour.
Diversification lessons from the GFC
While diversification makes sense in theory, how did it hold up during the global financial crisis? Follow the crisis through the lens of correlations and diversification.
Respect for markets and judging High Frequency Trading
A report card from AQR’s tenth anniversary seminar in Sydney covering two of the presentations. One on market respect and strategy, the other in defence of High Frequency Trading and the role it plays.
Diversification: past, present and future – part 1
Follow diversification’s past, present and future in this three-part series. Part one takes us from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to the classic strategic asset allocation pie chart used throughout the investing world today.
Quality over quantity: a lesson of value
Value investing is much more than simply buying cheap stocks. The quality of a company is extremely important and there are three key elements you should consider that will help sort the good from the bad.
No easy way to make money
History has shown that there are many investment frauds and schemes out there intent on parting investors with their savings. This is a reminder to be wary of things that look too good to be true – because they probably are.
Elroy Dimson on investing, expectations and truth in numbers
Elroy Dimson is a leading authority on the history of financial markets. We find out how the numbers inform his own views on investing
Active versus passive – what about risk?
For any investment strategy, it’s important to consider the risks involved. This simple framework, based on fixed interest funds, can help retail investors assess and understand the risks of investing in index funds.
Making judgments based on age
Complexity is one of the challenges of our information society, and we typically respond by making simplifying assumptions. This helps us manage the complexity but increases the risk of focusing on the wrong things.
Start the new financial year on the right track
A simple investment checklist to help investors ensure they start the new financial year on the right track towards achieving their investment goals.
Harry Markowitz on investing until 100
At age 87, Nobel Prize winner and investment legend Harry Markowitz is far from retirement, dividing his time between teaching, consulting and writing. He sat down with Cuffelinks to share his wisdom.
Don’t set and forget
Investors are often advised to take the long-term view and pay little attention to the ups and downs of the market. But adopting a strict ‘set and forget’ strategy can sometimes be short-sighted.
Superannuation is one part of a complex tax picture
The recent budget has highlighted the importance of superannuation in supporting the age pension system. Why then, would the Government want to remove many of the incentives for building a healthy super balance?
‘Outcome engines’ should be the heart of your business
There is opportunity within the financial services industry for super funds and wealth managers to develop quality outcome engines to gain market advantage and service clients more effectively. But it’ll take time and money.
Your money or your life: what’s more certain?
Uncertainties about life expectancy and market returns are a challenge for retirement planning, and using averages may do more harm than good by disguising multiple possible outcomes.
How much money do you need to retire?
It’s the most common question asked by potential retirees. Working an extra couple of years, having a zest for life or retiring early might affect both savings balances and lifespans
Investors need to allow for future cycles
Economic and investment market cycles do not make for a comfortable ride when making investment decisions and they’re not about to disappear despite numerous smoothing attempts. Face it, cycles just happen.
You have an aversion to what? Is it risk or ambiguity?
We may already know how risk averse we are when it comes to investing, but how much of this is affected by ambiguity aversion. A better understanding of financial products could improve the investment choices we make.
Choosing the right ingredients for inflation-linked investing
It’s a difficult task, looking for good ‘inflation plus’ exposure over a long period such as post-retirement. Research into appropriate asset classes shows low correlations make the problem hard to solve.
Avoid too much yeast when making dough
In 2013, M&A market confidence returned and we are already seeing an increase in deal activity this year. However, investors should watch closely to ensure that over-confidence doesn’t get in the way of value creation.
Post-retirement income: the drums are beating
Less than 15% of Australians will enjoy a ‘comfortable’ standard of retirement with just their super. The age pension doubles the numbers, but there’s an even larger increase if other savings are included
Advantages of splitting superannuation contributions
Contribution splitting allows a super member to split up to 85% of concessional contributions received in a financial year with their spouse, and there are times when this is a good strategy.
Getting the balance right
Investment risk shouldn’t be an “all or nothing” choice. In this video, Paul Clitheroe talks about the importance of understanding risk, and taking on an appropriate level of risk for you and your needs.
Investment cycles - why they matter
Dr. Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, explains what causes cyclical fluctuations in investment returns.
Six rules for ‘Smart Simplicity’
Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex -- and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity."
Psychology: the investment rollercoaster
Dr Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, discusses the rollercoaster of investor emotions and how investor psychology works over the market cycle.
Don’t go swimming naked for a short term thrill
Poor quality companies sometimes deliver impressive short term gains, especially when left behind in a previous rally, but the longer term is likely to disappoint. When equity markets turn, nobody likes to be exposed.
Make sure going overseas does not spoil your SMSF
If your SMSF loses residency status while you are overseas, the tax penalties are significant enough to spoil your retirement. Being aware of the rules and options available allows you to avoid the hurt and enjoy the homecoming.
Money in the bank: Is cash the best long-term option?
Many investors concerned with protecting their nest eggs, who have moved their savings from equities into lower-risk assets such as term deposits. Yet, as things start to change in the markets, now may be a good time to look at some alternatives.
It's a new year: let's save more, not procrastinate
The intention to save more is common, but it’s often easier to procrastinate. There are useful techniques the wealth industry should consider to overcome this reluctance to save, to everyone’s benefit.
Advice focus needs to shift to goals in retirement
A good financial plan should have the needs and goals of retirement clearly defined, which then allows an appropriate portfolio mix to be established. The risk becomes the failure to achieve those goals.
Picking winners: the origins of the specious
Watching the market each day to pick a winner is not the best way to handle a retirement plan. A better and less stressful approach for your investment portfolio is to avoid losers, sit back and watch the grass grow
Beware of the curse of liquidity
Shares are an excellent long-term investment, but the ease with which they can be bought and sold can be both a blessing and a curse. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
SMSFs cash out of cash for managed funds
Self managed super fund (SMSF) trustees continued to decrease their allocation to cash during the March 2013 quarter while exposure to managed funds increased for the first time in two years, according to the latest Multiport SMSF Investment Patterns Survey.
Education for SMSF trustees - what should it really mean?
Constant changes to an already complex super system mean trustees should be continually learning. Rather than focusing on compliance and rules, trustees need new tools to help make good investment decisions
When does an SMSF qualify as a 'wholesale' investor?
Qualifying as a ‘wholesale’ investor opens many investment opportunities not available to most retail investors, but the interpretation of the rules is inconsistent across the industry
Putting the 'self' into self managed super
Everyone is different so you need to design your SMSF for yourself and your dependents. That’s the importance of ‘self’ in self managed super.
Sometimes, it pays to find the truly visionary leaders
Looking beyond the top quality companies, it pays to find the true visionaries, the companies whose prospects are compelling into the distant future because of the strong momentum they have built.
My 8 rules for both wealth and health
The same strategies we use to keep our bodies in shape can also be applied to building our finances. These eight simple principles can set you on a path to achieve better health and wealth.
Equity income investors should focus on reinvestment rates
The biggest factor over the past year in Australian equity markets has been investors focussing on dividend yields. Another, perhaps more important, issue is how much a good company reinvests in itself.
Is your super fund adequately diversified?
The majority of super fund members in ‘balanced funds’ have sizeable allocations to bonds, global shares and listed property. SMSFs have over 60% of their assets in just cash, deposits and Australian shares.

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