Funds on track for stellar returns
Australian superannuation funds are on track to record their best performance since the financial crisis, hitting a median growth of about 13 per cent for the financial year to date.
The median growth fund rose 2 per cent in February, the ninth consecutive month of positive growth, industry analysts SuperRatings and Chant West said.
"Four years on from the lowest point of the GFC, it is great to see super funds have rebounded so strongly," SuperRatings founder Jeff Bresnahan said.
"Investors shouldn't expect a return to those bull market days of 2004 to 2007, but the 2012-13 financial year remains on track to provide double-digit returns."
SuperRatings reported that the median growth fund was up 12.3 per cent over the past eight months. Chant West reported similar figures, noting a 13.2 per cent rise for the same period.
Super funds had rebounded by 44.2 per cent since the financial crisis lows of February 2009, and were also 8.1 per cent higher than their pre-crisis levels, SuperRatings said.
The February reports came as Bureau of Statistics data showed that super fund assets rose by $50.7 billion to $1.46 trillion in the December quarter.
Chant West said Australian shares were the strongest performers in February, rising by 5.3 per cent, reflecting the sharemarket's bull run. International shares rose 1.3 per cent in hedge terms and 19 per cent in unhedged terms.
Australian real estate investment trusts (REITs) were up 3.5 per cent, while international REITs edged higher by 1.9 per cent.
"The strong sharemarket gains in February were largely on the back of improved sentiment, with investors seemingly prepared to look beyond the current patchy growth to a more prosperous future," Chant West director Warren Chant said.
At the same time, a survey of Australian chief investment officers by the Financial Services Council found that they were more positive about equities, with 91 per cent of respondents expecting Australian and international equities to perform "well" or "very well".