Campbell Horsfall (pictured) of Owen Dixon Chambers told Lawyers Weekly that the onerous compliance requirements of an SMSF add a time-consuming task to the pile of administration that self-employed barristers juggle on a daily basis.
“[Barristers] are responsible for lodging business activity statements every quarter and managing the cash flow ... that can fluctuate wildly ... and that takes juggling and financial nous,” he said.
An SMSF trustee for 13 years, Horsfall has since taken to direct investing through a super fund. He said that legalsuper’s Direct Investment Option allows him to buy and sell shares in the market without the administrative burden of an SMSF.
“If you’re a lawyer and you’re busy you’ve only got so much time and energy to put into a SMSF, and if part of that time and energy is going into compliance, you can take your eye off the ball a bit in terms of monitoring the market.”
Horsfall warned, however, that direct investing is not suitable for all legal professionals.
“The share market is very volatile and there’s plenty of scope to lose your money if you don’t carefully monitor what’s going on,” he said, advising those who don’t have a reasonable level of financial nous or time to monitor market activity to engage a financial planner.
But those barristers who do have an interest in the share market will enjoy having control over their stock portfolio, he added.
The chief executive of legalsuper, Andrew Proebstl, said that while SMSFs are popular with some members of the legal profession, others prefer the flexibility of direct investment, including active, sometimes daily, trading and the ability to build a portfolio.