Australian superannuation funds are predicted to secure bumper returns of more than 10% in 2017, but despite strong results across the board, self-managed super has not always delivered returns on par with balanced super options this year.
Superannuation research house SuperRatings reported last week share market gains in December have powered the retirement savings of Australians forward in 2017, with the median returns of balanced super funds across the country hitting 12.1% by the end of November this year.
Median pension returns were higher, at 13.1%. The rolling five-year return for balanced funds now sits at 10%.
The strengthening of the Australian dollar throughout the year dragged on the overall returns, but SuperRatings chief executive Kirby Rappall says international share market gains helped offset some of those losses.
“Investors still enjoyed some remarkable gains from the US market, which pushed to record highs late this year,” Rappall says.
The self-managed super fund (SMSF) sector has also seen gains of more than 10% this year, but analysts warn it is a challenging time to find returns on par with superannuation funds in the default option.
The most recent SuperGuard SMSF 360 benchmarks, which look at the performance of SMSFs compared with the default option, reported the SMSF 360 benchmark put DIY fund returns at 10.2% to October 2017, compared with 12% returns from the SuperGuard 360 default index.
Over the past five years, the default index has beat the SMSF index, returning 9.7% per annum compared with 7.6%.
The SuperGuard report suggests the strength of the equities market since 2012 has benefited default funds, given the large proportion of Australian equities within default super options.
“In particular the returns of the past five years have benefited workplace super funds more than the average SMSF member. This is due to the continuing bull run in equities — both Australian and international — that have benefited strategies that have higher weightings to growth assets,” the report says.
The top performing funds of the decade
SuperGuard’s index of SMSF returns puts the 10-year returns for a DIY super fund at 4.4% per annum, compared with 4.6% for the standard super option.
However, SuperRatings’ most recent evaluation of Australia’s super sphere reveals that several funds have beaten these benchmarks over the past decade.
Rappall said in a statement last week the strong performance of some funds drives home how important it was for individual super savers to track the returns of their funds against the benchmark to ensure their option delivers returns in line with their expectations.
“Simple things like consolidating your super funds can lead to lower fees, and benchmarking your returns allows you to see if your fund is meeting its investment objectives or whether it’s falling behind the pack. Many Australians have insurance in their super, and it is worthwhile checking if your fund provides it and if it is appropriate for your needs.”
SuperRatings says the top 10 performing funds in Australia returned more than 5% per annum over the past 10 years. Here are the top funds:
- REST – Core Strategy: 6.2% p.a
- CareSuper – Balanced: 6.2% p.a
- Equip MyFuture – Balanced Growth: 5.8% p.a
- HOSTPLUS – Balanced: 5.8% p.a.
- Cbus Growth – (Cbus MySuper): 5.7% p.a
- Australian Super – Balanced: 5.6% p.a
- BUSSQ Premium Choice – Balanced Growth: 5.5% p.a
- Catholic Super – Balanced: 5.5% p.a
- SunSuper for Life – Balanced: 5.5% p.a
- First State Super – Growth: 5.4% p.a
(Annual return over 10 years to 31 October 2017, source: SuperRatings)