July proves a good month for super funds

Superannuation funds have built on the gains of the past financial year, on the back of strong local and overseas equities and a weakening Australian dollar.

Superannuation funds have built on the gains of the past financial year, on the back of strong local and overseas equities and a weakening Australian dollar.

Median growth funds gained about 3 per cent in July, according to super researchers Chant West and SuperRatings. The growth reversed declines of 0.6 per cent in June.

Global sharemarkets were the strongest growth drivers for the month, with the median Australian shares option delivering 4.8 per cent compared with a rise of 5.2 per cent on the ASX 200 Accumulation Index, SuperRatings reported.

The falling Australian dollar boosted returns from overseas equities, while all other asset classes also strengthened in July.

"July's one-month return for the median balanced option is an exceptional result, especially coming on the back of last financial year's 14.7 per cent gain, the highest since the [financial crisis]," said SuperRatings founder Jeff Bresnahan.

Chant West director Warren Chant said although the median growth fund was more than 14 per cent higher than its pre-financial crisis peaks, Australian shares were 4.6 per cent behind late-October 2007 levels. Overseas shares performed only slightly better.

"This is an important reminder that the typical growth fund is not just dependent on shares for performance," Mr Chant said.

Master trusts returned 3.2 per cent for the month, in comparison with 2.9 per cent for industry funds.

"The past year has been favourable for master trusts due to their higher allocation to listed shares and property - 60 per cent against 54 per cent," Chant West said. But industry funds continued to outperform master trusts by 0.8 per cent in the longer term, with returns of an annualised 7.3 per cent against 6.5 per cent in the decade to July.

The top-performing balanced fund in five years to July was REST Core Strategy, which returned 6.9 per cent. Commonwealth Bank Group Super - Mix 70 returned 6.6 per cent while Telstra Super Corp Plus - Balanced rose 6.1 per cent.