The last decade has been a great time for super fund members, with the average return of 8.8 per cent a year, according to Chant West. But not every fund was a winner.
Performance has been well above the industry’s target rate of inflation (measured by the consumer price index) plus 3.5 per cent.
Had funds hovered around that target, members would only have received returns of around 5.5 per cent; instead the average default fund returned 8.2 per cent a year over the past five years based on research from Industry Super Australia (ISA).
But not all funds are equal obviously and different types of funds had different returns, as the chart below shows.
The chart shows that not-for-profit funds clearly outperformed over the 15 years to March 2019.
Industry funds topped the chart with average returns of 7.17 per cent closely followed by public sector funds at 7.08 per cent.
Corporate funds, which are also not-for-profits run for the benefit of employees of particular companies, came in third at 6.73 per cent. Retail, or for-profit, funds came in next with a 5.23 per cent average annual return.
The table covers all APRA-regulated (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) funds which had total balances of $1.84 trillion.
Self-managed super funds, regulated by the Australian Taxation Office, were valued at $750 billion. All but the largest self-managed super funds with $2 million in balances, have generally underperformed APRA-regulated funds.
See where your fund came in
Even within different fund types, the results have been varied. Here’s what the list of the top 30 funds over five years looks like.
A look at the chart shows only two retail funds are in the top 30 – AMP’s CCA MySuper fund and and another AMP-run fund, Woolworth’s MySuper. Industry funds dominate the top 30 with HostPlus, Statewide, AustralianSuper, CBUS and Unisuper taking the top five spots. They returned between 9.15 per cent and 8.62 per cent.
If you look at the worst performers on ISA’s tables the picture is different. The following table shows the worst 25 My Super performers. Retail funds dominate here, with 19 mentions ,while there were only four industry funds, two corporate funds and two public-sector funds listed among the worst performers in the default category.
MySuper (or ‘default’) funds are where about 80 per cent of Australians have their money invested, and are the lowest-cost operators in terms of fees.
The 25 worst performers in default funds over five years
Almost 60 per cent of total MySuper assets were in single-strategy MySuper products which put members in a balanced category made up of between 60 and 80 per cent of growth assets.
The remainder of MySuper funds invest in lifestyle products which move members to less risky strategies in the later years of their working life.
Lifecycle strategies are predominately used by retail funds and are a relatively new sector, evolving since 2013.
Lifecycle strategies averaged 6.73 per cent returns over five years with the top performer, Industry fund Catholic Super, coming in at 8.05 per cent. Hostplus, the top performing single-strategy fund, returned an average of 9.15 per cent over five years.
The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings.