Being proactive with your superannuation from the early stages of your career can have long lasting effects, and that includes knowing where your money is being invested.
It’s likely that most Aussies wouldn’t actively invest their money into organisations and industries with values that are misaligned with their own. So, it’s important not to be passive about it either.
After all, if you’re mindful about environmental sustainability on a day-to-day basis, chances are you wouldn’t want to find out you’ve spent most of your career contributing to the fossil fuel industry.
So, how can you find out where your super money is being invested?
Super funds have not always been required to disclose exactly where your money is being invested. But, at the time of writing, the Australian Government is undertaking further consultation on the regulations for the Superannuation Portfolio Holdings Disclosure.
The initial consultation was part of the ‘Your Future, Your Super’ Regulations (which passed the Parliament on 17 June 2021), and the amendments include: “introducing a requirement that the information should be easily downloadable from the website of the fund...”.
What this means is that super fund members will have more transparency when it comes to not only where their retirement savings are invested, but also the ease of which they can access this information.
Currently, it can be difficult to locate this information, depending on which super fund you are a member of. But the investment option you have chosen can typically give you a good indication of the industries your money may be investing in.
Can I have a say in where my money is invested?
Most Australian superannuation funds will have multiple investment options for you to choose from. If you are still a member of a default fund or are otherwise unaware of which of your fund’s options you’re invested in, it’s a good idea to find out.
Choosing the right investment option for your age and career stage can be important for the success of your retirement savings and allow you to ensure your personal values are being correctly represented.
For example, there are a number of super funds that offer ethical or sustainable investment options, but it’s unlikely to be the default option. So, if it’s important to you that your money is being invested ethically, you’ll typically need to actively select your fund’s ethical investment option, or switch to a fund that offers one.
Additionally, many super funds have a policy to exclude investments in the coal, and oil & gas industries, that applies across all of their investment options. You might like to consider reaching out to your super fund or checking their website to see if they hold this kind of policy.
One of the most useful ways to ensure you have a say in where your retirement nest egg is invested is by doing your research and making any necessary changes. Many super funds will allow you to change your investment option online or by mailing in a completed form. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions and weigh up the suitability of any new option before making the switch.
If you’re interested in learning more about ethical super, or to compare ethical super funds, consider checking out RateCity’s ethical super hub.