Super funds bounce back towards the black

AUSTRALIAN super funds have nearly clawed back the losses they have suffered since the global financial crisis.

AUSTRALIAN super funds have nearly clawed back the losses they have suffered since the global financial crisis.

It comes as the head of NAB Wealth, Steve Tucker, warns that the local super industry could struggle to meet the timetable for several federal government reforms, including changes to the way financial advice is delivered.

New figures show that - not including any super contributions one would have made since October 2007 - the average balanced fund now holds just over $174,400.

According to key fund tracker Super Ratings, that is just 1.4 per cent below the average pre-financial crisis high of $176,940.

It comes as the average balanced fund recorded a return of 6.5 per cent over the past 12 months, thanks to rallies on the Australian share market (up 5.1 per cent in 12 months) and international markets (up 8.7).

The Super Ratings managing director, Jeff Bresnahan, said balanced funds benefited from exposure to international shares as fears receded of a European debt crunch.

"If investors had been entirely in Australian shares they'd still be 30 per cent under water, not just 1.4 per cent," he said.

Mr Tucker warned yesterday that the local super industry could struggle to meet the federal government's reform timetable. He singled out the "Stronger Super" and the "Future of Financial Advice" reforms, which are due next year.

Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia business lunch, Mr Tucker said it will be hard for the industry to meet any deadlines because the detail of the reforms has not been finalised.

"We still don't have the final legislation, and then the regulation, and we've got hard deadlines and a very big industry that's got a big job to do all at the same time," he said.

"The longer it takes to finalise the detail the more pressure we're under as an industry to get it right."

Mr Tucker also said that NAB's failed acquisition of AXA last year was a missed opportunity and that there would not be similar opportunities for a long time.

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