AustralianSuper is one of Australia’s largest industry super funds, managing over $110 billion of assets for more than 2 million members. It invests in a variety of assets to grow its members’ savings. The company’s approach is based on its four core investment beliefs:
- All profits should be returned to members
- Active management in asset allocation and selection of stocks
- Using scale to reduce costs and achieve a better structure of investments
- A responsibility to the broader community, while maintaining obligations to members
Members also have access to the following insurances:
- Death cover
- Total permanent disability (TPD)
- Income protection
- Terminal illness benefit
Members are able get advice about superannuation, investment choices, insurance and retirement planning via telephone, or by meeting in person with a financial adviser.
AustralianSuper is run only for its members. It does not pay profits or dividends to shareholders, meaning that all money made goes back into the members’ fund.
How does AustralianSuper invest?
Because some asset classes can be volatile, AustralianSuper attempts to minimise such risk through diversification across and within asset classes. For example, it invests in property and infrastructure, which perform differently to more conventional growth assets and can offer reasonable returns even during times of volatility in the share market. Similarly, it attempts to stay flexible and responsive to market conditions adjusting investments as necessary.
The primary areas of investment are:
Money market securities (e.g. bank bills and short-term bonds that are held with banks, the government or companies)
Debt securities and loans issued by companies and other entities.
Fixed interest (bonds)
Loans to governments, private companies and banks that are issued as securities and pay regular interest over a set term.
Essential public facilities and services such as roads, airports, seaports in Australia and overseas. Another example is Ausgrid, which delivers electricity to around 1.7 million homes and businesses in NSW.
In December 2016, AustralianSuper made one of the biggest infrastructure investments ever in Australia when, with IFM Investors, it acquired a 50.4 per cent stake in Ausgrid from the NSW government.
Investment in Australian and international companies that are not listed on a stock exchange.
Includes assets such as commodities, royalties or leases.
Shares (stocks, securities, equities)
Large and small companies across a range of industries in Australia and overseas.
Direct holdings in residential, retail, industrial or commercial real estate.
An investment company that owns assets related to real estate such as buildings, land and real estate securities.
Within each of these classes of investment are dozens of individual investments.
The company also has a ‘socially aware’ investment option for members who want to put their money into assets that consider environmental, social and governance standards in their operation. For example, it will not invest in companies that:
- Directly own reserves of coal, oil, gas or uranium
- Produce tobacco, cluster munitions or landmines
- Have single-gender (i.e. exclusively male or female) boards (ASX 200 companies only)
- Have been identified as having human rights, labour, environmental or governance controversies.
However, it may still invest in companies that invest in, provide services to, or buy, process or sell products from the excluded companies. For example, companies that have shareholdings in, or banks that lend money to, an excluded company, plus service providers like security, catering or office suppliers or petrol refiners and distributors.
Also, members have the option to take a hands-on approach and create their own investment portfolio and level of investment in each asset class from the company’s options, or allow AustralianSuper to completely manage their investments.
What fees are involved?
AustralianSuper charges an ‘investment fee’ to cover the cost of managing your money. This fee is made of up three components:
- Investment management fees – amounts that relate to management functions, such as administrative costs
- Performance-related fees – fees paid to external investment managers for generating positive returns
- Transactional and operational costs – a broad category of costs relating to the buying or selling of investments (e.g. brokerage and commission)
The overall Investment fee is deducted from before-tax investment returns on your investments, before the returns are applied to your account.
Fees for the AustralianSuper Balanced option are below the industry average across all assessed account balances.
How do I sign up with AustralianSuper?
You can sign up for an account online at the AustralianSuper website or by printing an application form from their website and returning it by post. You can also contact AustralianSuper:
- 1300 300 273 (available 8:00am to 8:00pm weekdays AEST/AEDT)
- Overseas callers + 61 3 9067 2018
- Email: available on their website
- Super: GPO Box 1901 Melbourne VIC 3001
- Retirement income: Locked Bag 6 Carlton South VIC 3053