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Can self-managed superannuation fund trustees earn the equity risk premium?

Author

Listed:
  • Peter J. Phillips
  • Michael Baczynski
  • John Teale

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to determine whether self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) trustees earn: the equity risk premium or any premium to the riskless rate of interest. Design/methodology/approach - Using a sample of 100 SMSFs, the average annual returns since inception of the funds in the sample are compared with: the average annual equity risk premium since that time and the average yield of Commonwealth Government Securities since that time. Findings - The investigation reveals: the SMSFs in the sample do not earn the equity risk premium and the SMSFs in the sample did not earn a premium to riskless rate of interest. This leads to the conclusion that the SMSFs have borne risk without commensurate reward. Practical implications - For SMSF trustees, a simple portfolio that divides assets between (unmanaged) index funds and risk-free securities on the basis of trustees' risk aversion may generate better results than the existing portfolios. For policy makers, the relatively poor performance of SMSFs implies that the superannuation system as currently structured may not be generating returns that will maximize retirement incomes. Originality/value - The paper provides the first comparison of SMSF returns with the equity risk premium and the riskless rate of interest measured at appropriate horizons.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Phillips & Michael Baczynski & John Teale, 2009. "Can self-managed superannuation fund trustees earn the equity risk premium?," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 27-45, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:arjpps:v:22:y:2009:i:1:p:27-45
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
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    13. Peter J. Phillips & Alex Cathcart & John Teale, 2007. "The Diversification and Performance of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 40(4), pages 339-352, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter J. Phillips, 2011. "Will Self‐Managed Superannuation Fund Investors Survive?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 44(1), pages 51-63, March.

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