This post has been written by an esuperfund client, but is not sponsored or endorsed by esuperfund in any way.
Once I had decided to go down the SMSF path, as a financial adviser I spent a fair amount of time researching the various SMSF providers that offered establishment and administration services.
My requirements were fairly simple:
- I needed a low cost provider due to my relatively low super balance.
- I needed to know that the provider was trustworthy and reliable.
- I didn’t need any investment advice or an investment strategy as I could do this work myself.
- I wasn’t concerned about face-to-face or even phone support.
- I didn’t need a provider that could cover any ‘exotic’ investments as I was limiting myself to cash and shares.
So ultimately I was looking for a low cost SMSF service, but one that was reputable and wasn’t going to shut its doors the next day or the next week.
I spend a lot of time researching via Google as well as the multitude of investment online forums discussing SMSF providers.
After a week of research I decided to go with esuperfund, a provider of SMSF establishment and administration (including audit) services, based in Melbourne.
The application process
The SMSF application process for esuperfund was fairly straightforward, and all of the information was entered via their secure online form.
Most of the information is pretty standard, and the only things you’ll likely have to chase up are TFNs for yourself and the second (or any subsequent) trustees.
Shortly after completing the online form I received a package in the mail which contained all of the SMSF documentation and forms to complete and return.
The forums were pretty straightforward, with the only hassle being that a bunch of documents had to be certified by a JP or other qualified witness. Although this can be a pain, there is no SMSF provider or other financial institution that will accept an application without it.
Next in the mail came the trust deeds and other forms to finalise the establishment of the fund. Again this was pretty straight forward, and everything was returned to esuperfund in the reply paid envelope provided.
After that I received my account and login details for my Comsec online trading account and my ANZ V2+ savings account. Then it was time to get started…
Show me the money!
The next step was to rollover my existing retirement savings into the new SMSF, via the ANZ savings account. It took a few weeks for the cheques to arrive from my existing two funds, but once they arrived I went straight down to my local ANZ branch to deposit the cheques.
When I arrived at ANZ they said I couldn’t transact on the account because the ID process hadn’t been completed. I thought this would have been taken care of by esuperfund since I had provided them with certified copies of my ID, but aparently not.
Rather than cause a fuss and chasing up esuperfund, I simply provided my ID details to the local ANZ branch. The branch struggled a little to get things set up properly, as no one in the branch had dealt with having to identify and authorise an account held by an SMSF trust.
Keep in mind that when having your ANZ account ID’ed you need to have all SMSF trustees go through the process and provide copies of their ID in person.
Once the issues with ANZ were sorted out (which all happened within an hour or two) it was time to start transacting on the account. This is all done through the Comsec account, with trades settled from the ANZ account.
I’ve only made my way partly through the first annual SMSF audit, but so far it’s been all fairly straightforward.
I received an email from esuperfund with a link to a secure website form. Although esuperfund are able to pull most of the information for the audit and tax return from your Comsec and ANZ accounts (which they have access to) there is still some information that you need to enter.
I had to go through and enter all of the dividends myself, as well as scanning and uploading all of the dividend statements from my SMSF. This was a little time consuming, but certainly wasn’t difficult.
The next step (I believe) is that esuperfund will send a copy of the SMSF compliance notice and tax return for me to review. Then I just need to sign the documents and return them to esuperfund, and they will then lodge it with the ATO as required by law.
As esuperfund is a low cost SMSF provider, one has to expect that there will be a few restrictions.
For your share trading, the only option is to use Comsec. The Comsec system is great and I enjoy using it, however you have to pay full retail trading fees of $29. Again this isn’t too bad, but there are a lot of providers out there now with much lower brokerage.
For the cash account you have to use the ANZ V2+ account. This isn’t really a problem, but if you don’t already bank with ANZ it means that you now have to start dealing with yet another financial institution.
esuperfund will allow you to invest in a few different assets, including property, however there are a few restrictions. For example I wanted to invest in domain names, and has received advice that this type of investment would be acceptable in an SMSF.
When I contacted esuperfund about domain investment they told me it was an unacceptable investment for them, and wouldn’t enter into any further discussion.
Overall I’d have say the SMSF process with esuperfund has been good.
I’m sure there are other providers who offer better service and more flexibility, but no doubt their establishment and administration fees would be far higher.
Unless things change I don’t plan on leaving esuperfund any time soon, and I’d have no problem recommending them to other SMSF advisers and investors.
The above article has been written by a former financial adviser, however it must not be taken as advice or a recommendation. The article simply covers the writers own personal experience with the SMSF provider.