What do you think one of the hardest decisions is for some when they set up an SMSF? Is it deciding whether it should be a pension or lump sum fund? Choosing between an individual or corporate trustee? Deciding on fund members? If that’s what you are thinking, then then you may be wide of the mark. From our experience, it seems one of the harder decisions is deciding on the fund’s name.
For some, choosing the SMSF’s name can be a big deal, just like picking a car’s number plate, although that can be collectable. While the collectable status doesn’t apply yet, SMSF names can be just as ingenious as the ones you see on the road. I wonder what the SMSF equivalent is to car number plates like ‘2TH DOC’ for a dentist’s car or ‘34TIME’ for a musician?
The name you choose for your SMSF can be almost anything you like, because it’s your choice. Many funds use the members’ first or second names, others use the family company name, while some use the street they live in. The more inventive may use a quirky name like World is Our Oyster Super Fund or Hill of Hope Super Fund.
Some clients get concerned they may end up picking a name that’s already been used. That’s not a problem, as there’s about 598,592 funds at last count in September 2019 and many of those funds have the same name. It’s not like registering a company or business where the name must be unique. SMSFs don’t trade like a business and are a private structure for retirement investment purposes so the fund name you use is not a big issue.
There are many funds with the same name, just search the SuperFund Lookup site at https://superfundlookup.gov.au/. For instance, have a look under the name Jones Super Fund or Wang Super Fund or Nguyen Super Fund and you’ll find heaps. Or you can just look under your last name and see what comes up.
Some fund names are very simple such as the plain ‘A Superannuation Fund’. But then there’s those who like to challenge the regulator or confuse the fund’s auditor, like the Plan B Super Fund which sounds like a financial escape hatch. Then there’s the Apartment F Retirement Fund, maybe that’s the retirement home.
Some of the SMSFs have some clever, quirky and sometimes cheeky names. Take for instance The Put Everything on Black Super Fund, Spending the Kids Inheritance Super Fund, the Super-Duper Super Fund or Shrek is Green Fund. Then there’s the Lovin’ Life Fund, Retire Wealthy Super Fund and Bargain Hunter’s Super Fund.
Lessons to learn
While many funds may have a name with an entertainment value, could they teach us something? I suppose they do. A super fund is a special type of trust where the investments are held for the beneficiaries until they retire or for their dependants on the member’s death. It’s all about the relationship between the trustee and the beneficiaries which doesn’t require a name at common law. Trusts are given names as it makes them easier to make transactions rather than, if there was no name, having to go to great lengths to describe what the trust was set up for and who is to benefit.
Giving a name to your SMSF is required to have it registered for tax purposes and to be included on the SuperFund Lookup. Financial institutions such as banks, life offices, stockbrokers, share registries and managed funds which would probably not open a super fund name unless it fitted into its systems.
While we may think of many amusing and unusual names for an SMSF, it would be inappropriate to choose a name that maybe considered obscene, defamatory, misleading or deceptive. Some organisations may choose not to deal with you and frustrate the operation of the fund. So, be practical in choosing a name. Have one that is short and maybe doesn’t clearly identify members or their business.
But choice of a super fund name is up to you and your fellow members. It’s part of the control of why you have your own super fund. That’s why there’s names like the Dragon Slayers Super Fund, Earl’s New Life Fund and Far from the Madding Crowd Retirement Fund, because they can.
A word of warning though, try not to be like one client who used a name of a movie character which had a patent or copywrite on it like the Pink Panther Super Fund or Batman Returns Super Fund. They ended up getting a letter from the name’s owner politely asking them to change the name.
Subscribe below to SMSF News to receive my latest articlesGraeme Colley, Executive Manager, SMSF technical and private wealth- Super Concepts
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