A Comprehensive Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) Guide

A Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) is a superannuation fund regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), providing individuals the ability to manage their own superannuation investments within a legal and regulatory framework. SMSFs are typically preferred by individuals seeking greater control over their retirement savings compared to industry or retail superannuation funds.

How Does an SMSF Work?

An SMSF operates similarly to other superannuation funds. However, the key distinction is that the members of an SMSF also act as its trustees. These trustees are responsible for managing, investing, and administering the fund’s superannuation assets. Key responsibilities include preparing an investment strategy and objectives and ensuring compliance with taxation and superannuation laws.

Pros and Cons of SMSF


  • Control: Greater control over investment choices.
  • Flexibility: Varied investment options, including direct property and shares.
  • Tailored Strategy: Customised investment strategy based on individual goals.


  • Cost: Expenses associated with setup and ongoing management.
  • Time and Effort: Resource-intensive to manage correctly.
  • Risk of Errors: Potential for significant financial and legal repercussions.

What is the Minimum Amount to Set Up an SMSF?

While no minimum amount is mandated to set up an SMSF, a balance of at least $350,000 is generally recommended to cover annual running costs, which typically range from $1,650 to $3,500. Additionally, the investment strategy and ongoing costs should be carefully considered.

Role of Professionals in SMSF


SMSF accountants can help set up an SMSF, assist in administration, ensure compliance with regulations, and provide superannuation advice. It is essential to verify their qualifications and experience.

Financial Planners

Though not mandatory, consulting a financial planner can be beneficial for guidance on managing the fund and making appropriate investments. This is particularly useful for individuals who are unsure about investment strategies.

SMSF Auditors

Accountants registered with the ATO as SMSF auditors can perform audits to ensure the fund meets superannuation and taxation requirements.

How Much Do Professionals Charge for SMSF?

The cost associated with SMSFs can vary. Setting up an SMSF generally ranges between $1,300 and $2,400, while ongoing annual costs typically fall between $1,650 and $3,500, depending on the complexity of the fund and required services.

Self-Management vs. Professional Management

While you can manage your SMSF independently, understanding the legal and regulatory requirements is crucial. If managing the fund independently, ensure you:

  • Have the necessary time and resources
  • Understand and comply with legal requirements
  • Have an appropriate investment strategy

If in doubt, professional advice can be invaluable for managing the fund effectively.

For more information on SMSFs or to enquire about fund setup or management, contact Griffiths Advisory. Our team of SMSF experts can help you understand the rules and regulations and provide advice on the best way to set up and manage your SMSF.

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Phil Griffiths

Phil Griffiths

Bachelor of Commerce
Certified Practising Accountant
Diploma in Financial Planning
Professional Certificate in SMSF
Approved SMSF Auditor

Phil has been the Managing Director of Griffiths Advisory for 29 years, combining his expertise in taxation, business advisory, superannuation, negative gearing, and wealth creation. He also loves an active lifestyle, indulging in surfing, cycling, snowboarding, and spending quality time with his wife and two children.