Recessionberg protects SMSF specufestors from Hayne

Lol, the LNP is so corrupt it is difficult to know where to look. Via Banking Day:

Which would you prefer?

Bill Shorten’s town hall tour of Australia to wrap up the Hayne royal commission into banking?

Or policy making of the kind dished up by Josh Frydenberg on Friday?

The government has decided not to make any changes to the borrowing arrangements for self-managed superannuation funds, after reviewing a report on the issue by the Council of Financial Regulators and the Australian Taxation Office.

Treasurer Frydenberg said in a media release that the report found only a small proportion of SMSF assets were funded using borrowed funds and did not pose a material systemic risk.

The government has asked the CFR and the ATO to monitor SMSF borrowing and report back in three years.

Not daring to impede the flow of credit, Frydenberg is all for SMSF leverage and ignoring the clear cut advice of not just the final report of the Financial System Inquiry back in 2014, but also the latest advice from his most influential regulators.

The most prominent reform proposed by David Murray and his panel was a ban on borrowing within do-it-yourself superannuation, and regulators favour this approach.

“The regulators’ preferred option [is] to remove the exception to allow limited recourse borrowing arrangements [within superannuation funds]” the conclusion to the ATO and CFR report makes clear.

The Productivity Commission’s recent report on superannuation “also found that LRBAs do not ‘currently pose a material systemic risk’,” Frydenberg pointed out in his media release.

In the five years since the FSI’s final report, SMSF leverage has taken off.

The number of SMSFs using LRBAs “has increased significantly” from 13,929 (or 2.9 per cent of all SMSFs) in 2013, to 42,102 (or 8.9 per cent of all SMSFs)in 2017, the report shows.

“LRBA assets represent 68 per cent of total assets for those SMSFs with LRBAs.

“The value of assets held under LRBAs has increased from A$8.8 billion in June 2013 to A$38.9 billion in June 2018. As at June 2018 this represented 5.2 per cent of total SMSF assets, up from 1.9 per cent in June 2013.”

The total borrowing amount outstanding for SMSFs as of March 2019 “is around $18.1 billion.”

The Council of Financial Regulators said “real property represents a significant proportion of the assets held by SMSFs with LRBAs. SMSFs remain a small, but not insignificant, driver of growth in the property market.

“A change in the property cycle or rising interest rates could increase incidents of default or personal guarantees being called upon.”

It’s pre-retirees with modest super balances in the firing line.

LRBAs, the report says, are most common in SMSFs with a net fund size (total assets excluding the value of the amount borrowed) of between $200,000 and $500,000.

In 2017 the average borrowing under a LRBA was $380,000 and the average value of assets was $768,600.

The Labor Party has said it would ban this common practice if it wins government.

The report notes that since the Financial System Inquiry made its recommendation there have been a number of regulatory changes that have had an impact in this area. APRA has issued directions to tighten lending standards and ASIC has increased scrutiny of compliance with responsible lending obligations.

APRA has been given authority to regulate the practices of non-ADI lenders and ASIC has been given wider product intervention powers.

The CFR and ATO report says a number of additional steps could be taken to reduce risk.

Got to protect those super leveraged old farts.

Bring on the Labor smash.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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