FAQ’s

FAQ’s

For questions on terminology, please refer to our glossary. If you can’t find it there, please let us know, and we’ll consider adding the term to our glossary.

For any questions not answered below, please email us the question, and we’ll respond in a reasonable time.

For any other feedback, such as additional reports you’d like – we want to hear about it. Please send us an email, and we’ll consider it.

Why do you need to know my asset allocation approach?

Why do I need to tell you which asset allocation I am aiming to maintain?

Do I need to tell you my real fund name and member names?

Why do you want to know what phase I am in?

Why am I seeing a 0% return?

Why are my returns different to what my administration service or adviser has reported?

Why do I have to input valuations and cash flow every month?

Do I really have to update my fund and member info every month?

Can I register a separate “hypothetical portfolio”?

Why is my balance in the report lower than the value of my property?

Do you keep my credit card details on your server?

Why does it take at least 7 days before I can see reports following the end of a month?

How do I setup my fund and member info initially?

What do I have to do each month?

Why do you measure risk in terms of asset allocation?

Can I ask for some different reports?

Why can’t I just edit my fund info or member info without going through a monthly update?

Can I just input or import monthly valuation and cash flow data without having to update fund and member info?

Does my registration get automatically renewed?

How do I get my adviser to register?

Is SMSF Benchmarks associated with any adviser groups, banks or insurance companies?

Can you give me advice?

Can you help me set up a SMSF?

Can you recommend an adviser?

Do you provide an administration service?

Can you recommend an administration service?

Does SMSF Benchmarks promote investment products?

Can I add my Adviser’s Code later?

 

Why do you need to know my asset allocation approach?

As well as showing, for a particular period, how your fund performed against all other (registered) funds, others of the same age group and others in the same phase, we can show you something even more powerful: how your fund compared with others investing in a similar way to you.

To do this we need to know whether you were aiming to maintain a particular asset allocation during a period, and if so, what your target asset allocation was. Once we know that, we can help you compare against the right group of investors.

If you were using a Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA), or a Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) approach during a period, then you were aiming to maintain a particular asset allocation, such as 60% in Growth assets / 40% Defensive.

Even if you actually had 80% in Growth assets, the right group to compare your performance against is other investors who were also aiming to have 60% in growth assets and those using an Adaptive Asset Allocation (AAA) approach who had 60% in Growth assets.

The fact that you actually had 80% in Growth assets will be one of the reasons for any out-performance or under-performance.

On the other hand if you were using an Adaptive Asset Allocation (AAA) approach during that period, then you were not attempting to maintain any specific asset allocation. If you had 80% Growth assets during the period, then your performance should be compared against others who had 80%, or were aiming to have 80% in Growth assets.

So, the fact is that we can give you some very powerful information – better information than has been available for SMSF investors before – but to do this, we do need you to keep us informed about which asset allocation approach you are using.

Because some funds change their asset allocation approach, or their target asset allocation from time to time, we ask you to update your fund information each month.

Most of the time, this simply means confirming that the same approach is still being used. Occasionally you may need to change something, but by keeping us informed either way, we can make sure your reports are accurate and relevant, even over long periods, where your approach may change several times.

Refer to our User Guide and Sample Reports for more information.

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Why do I need to tell you which asset allocation I am aiming to maintain?

We need this information to show you how your fund has performed compared with funds investing in a “similar” way to you. By this we mean funds which have invested using a similar asset allocation to you during a period.

If you were using a Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA), or a Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) approach during a period, then you were aiming to maintain a particular asset allocation, such as 60% in Growth assets / 40% Defensive.

Even if you actually had 80% in Growth assets, the right group to compare your performance against is other investors who were also aiming to have 60% in growth assets and those using an Adaptive Asset Allocation (AAA) approach who had 60% in Growth assets.

The fact that you actually had 80% in Growth assets will be one of the reasons for any out-performance or under-performance.

Because some funds frequently change their asset allocation approach, or the asset allocation they are aiming to maintain, we ask you to update your fund information each month.

Most of the time, this simply means confirming that the same approach is still being used. Occasionally you may need to change something, but by keeping us informed either way, we can make sure your reports are accurate and relevant, even over long periods, where your approach may change several times.

Refer to our User Guide for more information.

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Do I need to tell you my real fund name and member names?

Only for billing purposes, and we will not keep your credit card details on our server.

It’s up to you whether you use pseudonyms for your fund name and member names. We don’t need real names for our reports.

To get meaningful information about your fund performance though, all other fund and member information should be real.

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Why do you want to know what phase I am in?

Investors sometimes have different objectives when they move from accumulation to pension phase. They may focus more on income, they may change their investment approach and they may move to a more conservative asset allocation.

Hence, comparing performance against others in the same phase may be instructive.

Refer also to our Sample Reports.

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Why am I seeing a 0% return?

Data integrity is important to us. We want to ensure that we are accurately calculating your long term returns and that you are comparing your performance against the right group of funds.

For this reason, we ask you to update your fund and member information each month.

Most of the time, this simply means confirming that the same approach is still being used. Occasionally you may need to change something, but by keeping us informed either way, we can make sure your reports are accurate and relevant, even over long periods, where your approach may change several times.

After the end of a month, we give you 7 days to update your data for the month just ended. If this has not happened after 7 days we copy the data forward from the previous month, in order that you can still see some reports.

Because the valuation will be the same, the reports will say that you’ve had a 0% return for the month. This will also affect accuracy of longer term returns.

If you miss updating a few months, that’s easily fixed. We show you which months need updating. Once you update the missing months, you should see some real returns.

Refer to our User Guide to learn more.

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Why are my returns different to what my administration service or adviser has reported?

There are different methods used for calculating returns. There is no standard method used across our industry for SMSF reporting.

If you are seeing different returns compared to our ones, this is probably because your administration service is calculating returns using a Money Weighted Return (MWR) method.

The MWR method gives an Internal Rate of Return (IRR). This is fine and correct when viewing your return in isolation, but it is not an acceptable method to use when you want to compare returns against other funds or a suitable benchmark.

That’s because the MWR calculation is influenced by the timing and size of external cash flow movements such as contributions, rollovers and pension payments. You can see a good example of this in the appendix of our User Guide.

We use a Time Weighted Return (TWR) method to calculate returns for all funds, the only method which should be used to get fair comparisons.

There are Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS), which apply for larger funds. GIPS specifies that managed funds must report their returns using a TWR method for this very reason.

In Australia, the FSC has also adopted GIPS.

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Why do I have to input valuations and cash flow every month?

Data integrity is important to us. Rather than relying on funds to tell us their returns, where there is an inconsistency with how returns are calculated in our industry, we need to capture valuations and cash flow movements for each month.

We can then calculate returns accurately for the month, and for longer periods, using a Time Weighted Return (TWR) method. This allows us to apply a consistent method which allows for fair comparisons between funds.

Refer to our User Guide for more information

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Do I really have to update my fund and member info every month?

It’s all about data integrity. We want to give you accurate reports about how your performance compares with other funds and other investing in a similar way to you.

We recognise the dynamic nature of how SMSFs can invest. For example over a 12 month period you may have been aiming to invest with 40% in Growth assets for the first 3 months, then you changed your intended exposure to Growth assets to 80% for the next 8 months before changing to 50% Growth assets in the last month.

It would not be instructive to compare your 12 month performance against other funds which invested with 50% in Growth assets, simply because that’s how you were placed at the end of the year. We will look at your most frequent target asset allocation over any period, and compare against others who had the same.

To get meaningful reports, we ask you to update your fund and member information every month.

Most of the time, this simply means confirming that the same approach is still being used. Occasionally you may need to change something, but by keeping us informed either way, we can make sure your reports are accurate and relevant, even over long periods, where your approach may change several times.

You may also wish to refer to our User Guide for more information.

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Can I register a separate “hypothetical portfolio”?

Not yet. In the initial release it is part of our terms of service that you use real fund data.

In a subsequent release we intend to give you the ability to do set up a hypothetical fund as well. It can be helpful to test a hypothetical investment approach, or portfolio before implementing it.

 

 

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Why is my balance in the report lower than the value of my property?

Our reports showing how your fund balance compares with others over time is based on net assets, after allowing for any loans, such as for an investment property.

Our calculation of returns also takes into account interest paid on any such loans.

For example, if 2 funds had a balance of $100,000 at the start of the year, then one borrowed $700,000 and purchase a property, it would not be instructive to report that one fund now has a balance of $800,000 and the other $100,000.

Likewise if the property value increased 5% during the year, yet interest of 6% was incurred, it would not lead to fair comparisons to say that this fund earned 5% over the year.

To maintain data integrity, we make comparisons using the real (net) figures.

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Do you keep my credit card details on your server?

No. Hence your registration will not be automatically renewed each year. We will issue a reminder when it’s time to renew.

 

Why does it take at least 7 days before I can see reports following the end of a month?

Following the end of a month, we need to give members time to input or import their valuations at the end of the month, their cash flow movements for the month, and to update us as to whether there any changes to their fund and member information for the month just finished.

After 7 days we start calculating and reporting medians balances, returns and risk.

Please note that the medians will be continuously updated, as more funds progressively update their data.

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How do I setup my fund and member info initially?

The initial setup should take about 5 – 15 minutes. Upon registration we take you through a simple “setup” process.

Please take the time to understand the terms which come up in your setup process. We can give you powerful reports, and they will be most valuable to you if based on accurate information.

You may also find the User Guide, and Glossary helpful, in our Knowledge Centre.

 

 

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What do I have to do each month?

The monthly process can take as little as 5 minutes, or as long as you want. That’s up to you. Please refer to the User Guide for detailed information.

Data integrity is important to us. Each month we want to accurately calculate returns using a Time Weighted Return (TWR) method to allow fair comparisons.

To do this we need to record valuations and cash flow movements for each month. We also record the asset weighting for each holding so we can help you compare against other funds investing in a similar way to you.

We don’t care how we get the information: you can manually input it; import a csv file in some cases; or engage us to input the data for you.

In a subsequent release we aim to have automatic feeds, making the process even easier for subscribers who give us permission to access data this way.

 

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Why do you measure risk in terms of asset allocation?

There are many types of investment risk including: the chance of permanent loss of capital; volatility; gearing risk; inflation risk; and legislation risk.

Our initial release will allow funds to compare the level of risk they have taken to achieve their returns in terms of their level of exposure to Growth assets and the level of gearing.

The higher the level of Growth assets in a portfolio, the higher the chance of permanent loss of capital and the higher the volatility of the portfolio tends to be.

A fund with 80% in shares should expect to get a higher return than a fund with 40% in shares during a period when the share market is running well.

This is why some investors may wish to compare not only the returns achieved but the level of asset allocation risk taken to achieve those returns.

It is also why we give you reports showing how your fund has performed compared to others with a similar exposure to Growth assets as your fund.

We welcome feedback by email on which other types of reports you would like to see in subsequent releases.

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Can I ask for some different reports?

Yes please. We’re always looking for ways to improve.  If there’s anything else you’d like to see, please send us an email and let us know what you’d like to see. We will consider all ideas – but we won’t be able to agree to every request.

If you want a customised report just for you or your clients, it may be possible, subject to negotiation. please contact us by email.

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Why can’t I just edit my fund info or member info without going through a monthly update?

This is because of the need to maintain data integrity.

We need to capture how you were investing during a particular month, corresponding to the return achieved and risk taken for that month. This makes sure we’re helping you compare performance against funds which have invested in a similar way to you over time.

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Can I just input or import monthly valuation and cash flow data without having to update fund and member info?

No. This is because of the need to maintain data integrity.

We need to capture how you were investing during a particular month, corresponding to the return achieved and risk taken for that month. This makes sure we’re helping you compare performance against funds which have invested in a similar way to you over longer periods of time.

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Does my subscription get automatically renewed?

No. Because we have decided not to store your credit card details on our server, for security, we will not automatically renew your registration.

We will send a reminder leading up to the due date, and ask you to re-register.

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How do I get my adviser to register?

You may be eligible for a bulk order discount if you subscribe through your adviser, but first your adviser needs to be registered with us. If you want your adviser to register, please email us their details and also send a link to our site to your adviser recommending that they take a look. Let them know we may call them.

If your adviser registers he or she can view your reports, and potentially provide valuable commentary on the reports. Your adviser may also receive some reports for their clients as a group, which could lead to improved results for you all.

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Is SMSF Benchmarks associated with any adviser groups, banks or insurance companies?

No. SMSF Benchmarks is privately owned. This is important to avoid statistical bias.

If a particular administration service provided performance comparisons between funds using their service, the results are likely to be biased.

For example, if all funds were using an administration service provided by a bank or insurance company mainly supported by financial advisers, this group of funds may have a higher than average use of managed funds in them.

If a comparison was made between clients of an on-line share market service, the funds using that service may have a higher than average tendency to use Australian shares – and so on.

When it comes to getting high quality information comparing fund performance, independence is very important. You want to be able to compare against all funds, no matter which administration service they use, no matter whether they use an adviser or not, and however they decide to access their Growth and Defensive assets.

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Can you give me advice?

No. SMSF Benchmarks does not provide administration, sell products or give advice. We do just one thing. We provide better information than you have probably ever had before about how your fund is really performing.

This should help you and your trusted adviser make better decisions.

However, if you do not have a trusted adviser, we can introduce you to several in your area who use our service. After all, advisers who are prepared to have their clients benchmark their performance probably have more belief in the value of their overall service.

Send us an email and we’ll see if we can help you.

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Can you help me set up a SMSF?

No. SMSF Benchmarks does not establish funds, provide administration, sell products or give advice. We do just one thing. We provide better information than you have probably ever had before about how your fund is really performing.

However, if you want an introduction to someone in your area who can help you setup your fund, contact us by email and we’ll see if we can help.

Once your fund is established, make sure to subscribe to SMSF Benchmarks and get access to our reports, to help keep on track to reaching your goals.

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Can you recommend an adviser?

At SMSF Benchmarks we do not provide advice, and we cannot recommend specific advisers.

However, if you do not already have a trusted adviser, who offers a full benchmarking service, we can introduce you to several in your area who use SMSF Benchmarks.

After all, advisers who help their clients benchmark performance in a transparent way probably have the strongest belief in the value of their overall service.

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Do you provide an administration service?

No. SMSF Benchmarks does not provide administration, sell products or give advice. We do just one thing. We provide better information than you have probably ever had before about how your fund is really performing in a range of ways.

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Can you recommend an administration service?

If you have a trusted adviser, we recommend you speak to them about which administration service would be best for you.

We are independent, and not associated with any providers of administration services.

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Does SMSF Benchmarks promote investment products?

No. This would fall into the realms of advice, which we do not provide.

We do think it is in investors’ interests to be aware of the range of “investment approaches” available. This is because if they found that their current approach is consistently under-performing it is helpful to know that there are plenty of other approaches they could adopt, to get back on track. Hence the importance of benchmarking.

In our Knowledge Centre we will have reference to different investment approaches, for educational purposes. This should not be construed as advice.

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Can I add my Adviser’s code later

Yes.

If you don’t know your Adviser’s code when you subscribe, or you get your Adviser to Register with us later, so he or she can view your reports, or if you get a new adviser at some point, you can contact us and let us know your Adviser’s code.

We will link the adviser to you. The only exception is if you have an existing adviser who paid your subscription fee. We would seek their permission first.

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