Finance Your Super Women making big gains on super boards and in their accounts too

Women making big gains on super boards and in their accounts too

Women's super.
Women have improved their relative position in superannuation. Photo: Getty
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The number of women on superannuation fund boards has jumped 33.3 per cent in the four years to June 2018, according to new figures from the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority.

Women are still a significant minority on super boards, accounting for 32.4 per cent of all super board members, up from to 24.3 per cent in June 2014.

And in another change up, women have increased their average superannuation balances faster than men over the year to June 2018 – even if it was by the smallest of margins.

Women’s average account balances grew by 11.1 per cent, to $61,936. Men’s accounts rose 11 per cent, to $76,591, leaving the average male balance 23.6 per cent higher than the average for women.

But looked at in the longer term, women have made significant gains.

In the 10 years to 2018 women’s average balances grew 186.1 per cent to $61,936 while men’s balances rose an average of 153.3 per cent to $76,591.

So over the decade women’s balances have improved from 71.5 per cent of men’s to 80.8 per cent.

Overall superannuation balances jumped from $2.09 trillion in 2016 to $2.7 trillion in June 2018, a rise of 41 per cent, which was largely driven by rises in employment levels and strong financial markets.

The rise was also driven by an increase in the value of self-managed superannuation funds which increased from $621.7 billion to $749 billion in the two years.

That rise came despite the fact that self-managed super funds became less significant in in the overall superannuation basket, accounting for 27.7 per cent of super assets in 2018 compared to 29.7 per cent two years earlier.

Faster growth over five years

Over the ten years from June 2008 to June 2018, total superannuation industry assets increased by 140.3 per cent from $1.1 trillion to $2.7 trillion. However the boom in asset values meant growth was far stronger in recent years.

Pooled superannuation assets increased by 42.8 per cent in the five years from 2008 ($673.8 billion to $962.0 billion), but then jumped 84.4 per cent in the subsequent five years ($962.0 billion to $1,774.0 billion).

SMSF assets increased by 49.4 per cent in the first five years ($319.0 billion to $476.5 billion), and 57.4 per cent ($476.5 billion to $749.9 billion) in the subsequent five years.

Despite the growth in funds under management, competitive pressures in the market and the transitioning of all default funds to the MySuper option has significantly cut fees being charged by super funds.

In the year to June 2018 fees totalled $9.4 billion, a fall of 25 per cent and a significant gain for members.

The average MySuper default account, used by most workers, has risen strongly in recent years. MySuper balances increased from $24,287 in June 2014 to $41,735 in June 2018, a rise of 71.8 per cent . The average MySuper account balance at 30 June 2014 for females was $23,273, compared to $38,289 in June 2018, a rise of 60 per cent.

The position of industry funds also improved over the two years. Whereas in 2016 industry fund assets totalled $466.4 billion, by 2018 the figure had grown to $631.4, a rise of 34 per cent. For the first time industry fund assets totalled more than for-profit retail funds [$622 billion] in 2018.

Total contributions to superannuation increased from $136.7 billion in 2016 to $147.9 billion in 2018. Despite an ageing population, net benefit transfers [contributions less payments to members] rose from $3.6 billion to $4.3 billion over the two years.

The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings

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