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Individual or Corporate Trustee

SMSF Corporate Trustee or Individual Trustee?

When establishing a self-managed super fund (SMSF), the initial decision revolves around choosing between an SMSF corporate trustee and an individual trustee to oversee the SMSF‘s operations. The key distinctions between the two options will play a crucial role in guiding your decision-making process. Our analysis below aims to assist you in making an informed choice.

SMSF Individual Trustee:

An individual trustee is a person appointed to manage a self-managed super fund. For a single-member SMSF, two individual trustees are required, with at least one being a fund member

If you choose this structure by appointing another trustee who does not have any member balance in the SMSF, you will need to consider the following:

  • the extra trustee is not required to have any member balance but the extra trustee will be the legal owner of the assets in the SMSF
  • the extra trustee will be responsible for the SMSF operation. Even you own your member balance but it is managed by both trustees not just yourself. All the trustees have equal responsibility to manage the SMSF regardless their member balances

SMSF Corporate Trustee:

Alternatively, you can use a company to act as the trustee for your SMSF. This is quite common for SMSFs with property investment or a single member.

Benefits of a Corporate Trustee:

  • Ease of Changes: No need to update the trust deed or report changes when members join or leave the fund.
  • Borrowing in Super Funds – Lenders typically prefer SMSF corporate trustees for borrowing.
  • Single Member FundsEnables full control for a sole member with a company as the trustee.
  • Succession IssuesEnsures control continuity in the event of member death or incapacity.
  • Reduced trustee litigation exposureLimits liability to the assets of the company, not individual directors.

Cost of Setting up a Corporate Trustee

 iCare Super charges an upfront fee of $880 (including GST) to incorporate the trustee company and an additional $220 for the ASIC annual return.

Changing from Individual to Corporate Trustee:

Yes, the transition is possible, but it involves updating the trust deed and reporting changes to the ATO and relevant asset registries. iCare Super is available to assist with detailed discussions and support throughout the process.. Please contact iCare Super to discuss in detail.


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