Are you in a dud fund? Look before you leap
Superannuation watchdog APRA has just delivered its verdict on the performance of the nation’s 80 MySuper accounts. These are the default funds designed to provide low fees and basic levels of insurance. If you haven’t given your employer instructions about which fund you’d like the boss’s compulsory contributions paid into, it’s a fair bet your retirement savings are in a MySuper product.
APRA reviewed these funds as part of the Your Future, Your Super reforms introduced in the 2020/21 Federal Budget. It will be an annual event, and undoubtedly one that super funds won’t look forward to with any great relish. That’s because if a MySuper fund fails APRA’s test, the fund is required to write to members by the end of September, and suggest they take their money elsewhere because the fund is an underperformer.
On the plus side, only 13 MySuper accounts have been assessed by APRA as ‘underperformers’. That’s considerably less that some pundits were expecting. But you don’t have to wait to hear from your fund to know if your super account is among those that failed the test.
The Tax Office website has a YourSuper comparison tool that makes it very public which funds ‘performed’ and which ‘underperformed’. The tool also shows the fees and investment returns over 3, 5 and 7 years for each MySuper product.
None of us want to be in a super fund labelled as a dud. But before bailing out of an underperforming fund, there are a few things to consider. The first is that APRA’s performance test is complex. In particular, it looks at the fund’s performance in relation to it’s investment strategy. So some of the funds that copped a ‘fail’ result delivered much higher returns than others that passed.
This is why it makes more sense to look before you leap. It’s worth checking the returns your fund has notched up over time. Then check how it compares to others. The YourSuper tool allows you to do this. That way you can get an idea of whether you fund is a continual chain-dragger on returns or if it charges relatively high fees.
Switching to a new fund can be a good idea if it helps you enjoy a bigger nest egg in retirement. However, it will mean going through the process of selecting a fund, transferring your super savings from the old fund to a new one, and your letting your boss know the details of the new fund. It’s not a hard process, but it’s not something any of us want to go through every year. So take the time to be sure you’re happy with a new fund – or comfortable sticking with your old one.
Paul Clitheroe is Chairman of InvestSMART, Chair of the Ecstra Foundation and chief commentator for Money Magazine.