Industry superannuation fund assets under management have grown far faster than their rivals in the 12 months to March 31, according to new figures from APRA and the ATO.
APRA figures on the superannuation industry found that industry fund asset bases had risen 15.8 per cent in the March year to total $598.8 billion, while retail funds were up 3.9 per cent to $602.6 billion and public sector funds were up 7.5 per cent to $443.3 billion.
Self-managed super funds, which for many years were the fastest growing fund type, produced further evidence that their popularity is in decline. SMSF assets under management grew at 3.5 per cent, the lowest of all fund types, while the number of SMSFs in existence grew at 3.5 per cent to 586,660.
The fact that SMSF numbers and their overall asset base grew by the same amount suggests that balances for the sector were relatively flat.
Default My Super funds grew at 15.8 per cent, the fastest rate of any category, after growing at 22 per cent the previous year. That growth resulted from moves by retail funds to comply with regulations that demand retail funds move default monies into registered My Super funds by the end of the current financial year.
Stephen Anthony, chief economist with Industry Super Australia, said the growth in My Super funds was also partly a result of strong jobs growth. New entrants to the workforce tend to join My Super funds, he said.
Overall contributions to super grew at 9 per cent, while benefit payments grew only 3.7 per cent over the year to March. That helps ease fears that the super pie will shrink as the population ages and more people withdraw cash, swamping contributions by those still working.
Further figures from the ATO give weight to the slowing of what was once the SMSF revolution. Total funds under management in SMSFs fell by 1.2 per cent to $712.008 billion in the three months to March with shares, trusts and loans falling slightly along with overseas assets of all classes.
While similar quarterly falls have occurred occasionally in the past, overall yearly growth for SMSFs has slowed in recent years making the quarterly decline more significant.
Limited recourse borrowings by SMSFs grew 1.1 per cent to $32.159 billion. That area has been controversial due to fears SMSF loans have helped drive the housing market to levels that are unattainable for first-home buyers.
The Labor opposition has pledged to ban the practice if it wins the next election.
There were small rises in holdings of Australian residential and non-residential property along with cash in SMSFs over the quarter.
Research from Roy Morgan found that the top three funds in terms of customer satisfaction in the six months to April were the not-for-profit funds Qsuper, Unisuper and VicSuper.
Roy Morgan also found that industry fund members were the most satisfied with their funds on all account balances over $5000, including those members who had $700,000 or more saved.
While historically SMSFs provided the highest satisfaction levels among higher balance funds, a decline of 11.6 points in the $100,000-$249,999 balance category from a year earlier placed them below industry funds in terms of satisfaction and nearly equal with retail funds.
Retail funds showed highest relative performance among funds only for balances below $5000, Roy Morgan found.
The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings