Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) now account for almost one-third of the total Australian superannuation industry assets. They continue to grow at a rapid pace, with the latest statistics from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) revealing that there are more than 509,000 SMSFs with nearly 964,000 members. These numbers have continued to trend in an upwards direction, increasing from June 2012 where there were nearly 476,000 SMSFs and around 899,500 members.

At the end of the financial year, SMSFs held more than $500 billion in assets, with the average size of an SMSF worth over $990,000 and the average member balance at approximately $524,000.

Nearly 3,000 SMSFs are established every month in Australia, with a total of 35,776 established in the 2013 financial year.

SMSFs have seen the lowest number of wind-ups in the past five years, with less than half a percent of funds closing down, supporting the view that as more and more people shift away from retail and industry funds, members are rarely going back on their decision after establishing their own SMSF.

The most popular investment in an SMSF is listed shares, with on average over 31 per cent of all assets held in direct shares, with cash and term deposits following closely, making up approximately 30 per cent of all assets. Non-residential property and unlisted trusts followed, with 11.5 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively held in these investments.