SMSFs shift focus to equities
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Andrea Slattery is the chief executive of the SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia.
A few weeks ago, Zurich Investments issued the results of a survey of 200 financial advisers that demonstrated more than half are preparing to rebalance their clients' portfolios away from cash.
In the next six to 12 months, 68 per cent had a reweighting back to equities firmly on their agenda.
Perhaps more interestingly, of those advisers who said they would rebalance their clients' holdings, a staggering 94 per cent were looking at growth assets.
Considering the doom and gloom that continues to plague markets post the global financial crisis (GFC), they seemed remarkably optimistic findings.
Certainly, the media thought so - financial advisers suddenly taking a bullish view on the market was deemed to have news value.
But just how newsworthy was it? For many self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) investors, it must have seemed like yesterday's story.
Why do I say this? In late April, the latest Multiport SMSF Investment Patterns Survey for the March quarter showed SMSFs' cash holdings had fallen for the first time, quarter on quarter, since 2008, with a fall of 4.1 per cent to 22.9 per cent.
In the same period, their exposure to Australian shares, either via managed funds or direct investing, had jumped 3.4 per cent to 38.8 per cent. It seems SMSF investors were on the march already.
The broking group, Bell Potter, has also produced some interesting numbers relating to SMSFs, showing that while cash holdings have risen post the GFC (no surprises there), as a percentage of the assets in the average portfolio, equities have increased further.
At 30 June 2010, cash in SMSFs, on average, stood at 28.2 per cent - a year later it was 27.7 per cent (cash peaked at 30.12 per cent at 30 June 2009).
For equities, the numbers were 31.8 per cent at 30 June 2010 and 32.9 per cent a year later (equities peaked at 34.3 per cent at 30 June 2007). The losing asset classes were unlisted shares and non-residential property.
I mention these three survey results to make a salient point about SMSFs. Post the GFC, some in our industry suspected SMSF investors would be caught short by the market upheaval - a good idea for buoyant times, but volatile markets would expose them.
In difficult times, asset allocation was for the professionals, not for personal investors who might only have $250,000 tucked away in their SMSFs.