Australian superannuation funds continued to gain ground in May, with new figures showing a third consecutive month of positive returns.
Superannuation funds rating firm Chant West said the median return from a growth asset allocation rose 2.3 per cent in May, taking the return for the first 11 months of the financial year to 4.
The firm said this raised the prospect of a small positive annual return by the end of this month.
The strong performance in May was mainly the result of improving share markets, with Australian shares up 3.1 per cent and hedged international shares 1.7 per cent higher.
Listed property also rose, with Australian and global real estate trusts up 2.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
“While May was an excellent month, we’ve seen much of that gain erased in the first two weeks of June,” said Chant West director, Warren Chant.
“That’s largely because investors are concerned about the outcome of the UK referendum on June 23 and what the implications will be if Britain does decide to exit the European Union.
“That uncertainty has spilled over into global share markets, and we estimate that the median growth fund is down 1.8 per cent in June to date. Nevertheless, with only two weeks remaining we’re still sitting at about 2 per cent for the 2016 financial year, so a small positive return looks the most likely outcome.
“If that does occur it will be the seventh consecutive positive year, which is quite remarkable considering the global economic environment has been unsettled for much of that time.”
Mr Chant said that over three, five and seven years, all risk categories had met their typical long-term return objectives.
Over 10 years the higher-risk categories failed to achieve their objectives, but over 15 years the Growth, Balanced and Conservative funds did. The All Growth and High Growth categories fell slightly short over this period, having been hardest hit during the GFC.