SMSF trustees have the ability to borrow money to satisfy certain short-term financial commitments under provisions totally unrelated to the limited recourse borrowing arrangement rules, a sector specialist has said.
SuperGuardian education manager Tim Miller revealed trustees can employ temporary borrowings to pay a benefit to a member if the SMSF is obligated by the law or the fund’s governing rules to do so.
“So [this might be] a pension payment or a lump sum withdrawal or potentially a death benefit payment and [the fund doesn’t] have the liquidity to pay it out in its entirety, then the super fund can borrow for a period that doesn’t exceed 90 days and an amount that doesn’t exceed 10 per cent of the total fund assets,” Miller explained.
“It’s a fairly limited opportunity to borrow and I would always [qualify using this facility with the] warning that if you’re going to do it to pay a benefit, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got that liquidity coming [into the fund] soon.”
Temporary borrowings can be used to settle securities transactions inside an SMSF as well, he pointed out.
“There’s quite an extensive list [of the securities to which this rule applies], including bonds, debentures, shares in companies, units in a unit trust, futures contracts, currency swaps and forward exchange contracts,” Miller noted.
“So you can borrow to settle on securities so long as when the investment decision was made it was not expected that the borrowing would have been needed,” he said.
Again, he acknowledged the strict parameters applying to this course of action.
“In this instance you have the capacity to borrow again up to 10 per cent of the total asset value of the fund, but in this [case] not exceeding seven days.”
According to Miller, the ability to borrow to settle securities transactions should be a non-event as the timing of the investment in question and the associated required liquidity should be addressed as part of the fund’s investment strategy.''