UniSuper has topped the SuperRatings charts for 2018 with the research group naming it as the Fund of the Year.
SuperRatings executive director Kirby Rappell told The New Daily that Unisuper had been chosen because of its performance across the board in terms of fees, returns and efficiency.
“Although it was a very tight race, UniSuper has clearly demonstrated their commitment to member value across a range of criteria, including investment performance and fees, member services, financial advice and insurance, and fund governance,” Mr Rappell said.
The award came despite UniSuper not being an open-access fund. It is only available to those employed in the tertiary education sector and their families.
UniSuper also come up tops in the My Super category of default funds, where it had ” the highest 10-year returns”, Mr Rappell said. Default products are those that employees who don’t actively choose a super fund are directed into under industrial awards.
More than $600 billion of Australia’s $2.6 trillion superannuation is in default accounts, but the Productivity Commission last week reported that 25 per cent of default accounts were underperforming their benchmarks for returns. Other finalists in the MySuper category included AustralianSuper, CareSuper, HESTA and First State.
All finalist funds in the category were in the not-for-profit sector.
The Choice category, for funds actively chosen by members, was taken out by Queensland’s Sunsuper. Mr Rappell said “more and more people are making a choice in super” and that important criteria for that sector included “a reasonable range of investment choices and quality advice”.
As far as investment options go “you don’t want 80 options, more like 10 or 11”, Mr Rappel said. Having too many options was confusing for people and didn’t deliver optimal outcomes, he said.
The Pension category was taken out by another Queensland fund, QSuper. In this category, low fees and investment performance were important. Flexibility is also an issue to ensure people can access their money in lumps when unexpected needs arise, like ill-health .
The Career fund category was taken out by Hostplus. It drew the judges’ approval because it services the needs of its predominately young retail worker membership by taking more aggressive investment strategies than some other funds, safe in the knowledge that young workers with many years to retirement can benefit from higher risks.
The Rising Star category was taken out by Tasmanian fund Tasplan.
“It has successfully completed a number of mergers in recent years and is performing well,” Mr Rappell said.
The Infinity award for emphasis on ESG (environmental, social and governance) was taken out by Australian Ethical Super, a small for-profit fund with only about 35,000 members.
The Best New Innovation category was taken out by Sunsuper’s Beam technology that simplifies the payment of super contributions. “It’s a solution for employers that allows all super contributions to be made without going outside the employer’s payroll software,” Mr Rappell said.
The only award for an individual, the Pendal Retirement Innovation award, was made to Sam Harris, HESTA’s customer experience chief for improvements to the way members interact with the fund.
“It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious award. We are committed to keeping our fees low, delivering strong long-term investment performance and a competitive product suite,” said UniSuper CEO Kevin O’Sullivan.
The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings