Showing superannuation funds based on investment performance of
and a super balance of
Product
Past 5-year return
7.85% p.a
Admin fee

$68

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$623

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
8.43% p.a
Admin fee

$65

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$490

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
7.71% p.a
Admin fee

$78

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$928

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
Go to site
More details

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Learn more about superannuation

If you’re signing up for a super fund for the first time or considering changing funds, you probably want to know which are the best performing superannuation funds in Australia.

The short answer is that the performance of super funds changes on a daily basis. Top-performing super funds usually boast the most robust returns on investment during a financial year, but overall suitability for you should be judged on a number of factors.

While strong returns are positive, it’s important to consider whether a fund’s investment options and features are appropriate for your particular circumstances.

How to judge a super fund’s performance

The reality is that no one can predict which will continue to be the best performing fund with perfect accuracy. That’s why it’s advisable to choose the right investment strategy for your financial goals, and expect to encounter some ups and downs in your investment over the long term.

However, there are a number of indicators that you can use to judge a super fund’s overall performance:

  • Long-term returns – Returns on investment change regularly, so last year’s top performer may not meet expectations this year. Instead, it’s often best to judge a fund by its performance over at least five years.
  • Fees and tax – Look at the fund’s returns after fees and tax have been deducted.
  • Like-for-like comparison – Compare funds with other funds that have similar investment approaches. For example, if a fund invests 85 per cent of its money in property and shares, compare with other similar investment mixes rather than, say, a cash investment fund.

How to compare super funds in Australia

There are some key factors to consider when comparing super funds and weighing up your options:

  • Performance – As above, it’s often best to look at returns over a period of at least five years, minus fees and tax.
  • Fees – The lower the better, as they can add up over time.
  • Investment options – Check that there are options to suit your needs and preferred level of risk.
  • Extra benefits – Some employers pay more than the minimum contributions through certain funds.
  • Insurance – Check what coverage is available and the cost.
  • Customer service – Look for a fund that can offer support when you need it. Some funds charge a fee for offering financial advice.

Make sure you are comparing funds accurately by checking that details such as the investment returns period and fee period match up. For example, a 10-year average return for the period ending 30 June is different from a 10-year average return for the period ending 31 December. Similarly, one fund may charge fees annually, while another may charge them monthly.

When comparing investment returns, also make sure your comparison is based on the investment option you want to invest in – growth, balanced, conservative or cash.

Where to find information about super funds

You can usually find information about performance, investment options, fees and so on by looking at:

Once you’ve looked at the features and long-term performance of a variety of funds, you’ll be in a good position to decide which are the best performing super funds for your circumstances.

Should you change super funds?

Deciding whether or not to change super funds depends on whether you’re happy with how your current fund is performing. Keep in mind that market fluctuations can be expected with most investments, so it’s not necessarily worth jumping ship at the first sight of a downturn.

If you’ve compared your options and think there is a better fund out there to suit your circumstances, here are a few more things to consider before switching:

  • Insurance – Some funds provide insurance such as life insurance or income protection insurance. If you switch funds, you might lose current coverage.
  • Switching fees – Your current fund may charge a fee for switching.
  • Tax payable – There may be capital gains tax to pay as a result of rolling over your funds. Before switching, check with your super fund what your estimated closing balance will be.
  • New investment options – Make sure you are happy with the investment options available from your new chosen fund.

How to transfer or consolidate superannuation funds

Depending on which fund you’ve chosen, you may be able to transfer your money to a new fund online during the sign-up process. You’ll also need to change your fund with the ATO, either at the myGov website or by filling out a rollover initiation request form.

If you have money in more than one super fund, consolidating into a single account can make it easier to manage your investments and reduce the fees you need to pay.

The consolidation process works in much the same way as transferring funds, except you’ll need to transfer funds from more than one account. You can also search for lost super via the myGov website.

Once you have consolidated or transferred your super into a new account, make sure to let your employer know the details of your new fund.

Frequently asked questions

What is a superannuation fund?

A superannuation fund is an institution that is legally allowed to hold and invest your superannuation. There are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia. They come in five different types:

  • Retail funds
  • Industry funds
  • Public sector funds
  • Corporate funds
  • Self-managed super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies.

Industry funds were originally designed for workers from a particular industry, but are now open to anyone.

Public sector funds were originally designed for people working for federal or state government departments. Most are still reserved for government employees.

Corporate funds are arranged by employers for their employees.

Self-managed super funds are private superannuation funds that allow people to directly invest their money.

What superannuation details do I give to my employer?

When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You should also provide your tax file number – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

What fees do superannuation funds charge?

Superannuation funds can charge a range of fees, including:

  • Activity-based fees – for specific, irregular services, such as splitting an account after a divorce
  • Administration fees – to cover the cost of managing your account
  • Advice fees – for personal investment advice
  • Buy/sell spread fees – when you make contributions, switches and withdrawals
  • Exit fees – when you close your account
  • Investment fees – to cover the cost of managing your investments
  • Switching fees – when you choose a new investment option within the same fund

Can I choose a superannuation fund or does my employer choose one for me?

Most people can choose their own superannuation fund. However, you might not have this option if you are a member of certain defined benefit funds or covered by certain industrial agreements. If you don’t choose a superannuation fund, your employer will choose one for you.

How much is superannuation?

Superannuation is currently 9.5 per cent – which means that your employer must pay you superannuation equivalent to 9.5 per cent of your salary.

The ‘superannuation guarantee’, as it is known, has been at 9.5 per cent since the 2014-15 financial year. It is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.

What are reportable employer superannuation contributions?

Reportable employer superannuation contributions are special contributions that an employer makes on top of the regular compulsory contributions. One example would be contributions made as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Can my employer use money from my superannuation account?

No, your employer can’t touch the money that is paid into your superannuation account.

Is superannuation paid on unused annual leave?

If your employment is terminated, superannuation will not be paid on unused annual leave.

How is superannuation regulated?

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulates ordinary superannuation accounts. Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office.

What are ethical investment superannuation funds?

Ethical investment funds limit themselves to making ‘ethical’ investments (which each fund defines according to its own principles). For example, ethical funds might avoid investing in companies or industries that are linked to human suffering or environmental damage.

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm not an Australian citizen?

Yes, permanent and temporary residents are entitled to superannuation.

What is lost superannuation?

Lost superannuation refers to savings in an account that you’ve forgotten about. This can happen if you’ve opened several different accounts over the years while moving from job to job.

How do I change my superannuation fund?

Changing superannuation funds is a common and straightforward process. You can do it through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your new fund. You’ll also have to provide proof of identity.

What is the superannuation rate?

The superannuation rate, or guarantee rate, is the percentage of your salary that your employer must pay into your superannuation fund. The superannuation guarantee has been set at 9.5 per cent since the 2014-15 financial year. It is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.

Is superannuation paid on overtime?

As the Australian Taxation Office explains, there are times when superannuation is paid on overtime and times when it isn’t.

Here is the ATO’s summary:

Payment type Is superannuation paid?
Overtime hours – award stipulates ordinary hours to be worked and employee works additional hours for which they are paid overtime rates No
Overtime hours – agreement prevails over award No
Agreement supplanting award removes distinction between ordinary hours and other hours Yes – all hours worked
No ordinary hours of work stipulated Yes – all hours worked
Casual employee: shift loadings Yes
Casual employee: overtime payments No
Casual employee whose hours are paid at overtime rates due to a ‘bandwidth’ clause No
Piece-rates – no ordinary hours of work stipulated Yes
Overtime component of earnings based on hourly-driving-rate method stipulated in award No

How much superannuation should I have?

The amount of superannuation you need to have at retirement is based on how much money you would expect to spend each week during your retirement. That, in turn, depends on whether you expect to lead a modest retirement or a comfortable retirement.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates you would need the following amount per week:

Lifestyle Singles Couples
Modest $465 $668
Comfortable $837 $1,150

Here is the superannuation balance you would need to fund that level of spending:

Lifestyle Singles Couples
Modest $50,000 $35,000
Comfortable $545,000 $640,000

These figures come from the March 2017 edition of the ASFA Retirement Standard.

The reason people on modest lifestyles need so much less money is because they qualify for a far bigger age pension.

Here is how ASFA defines retirement lifestyles:

Category Comfortable Modest Age pension
Holidays One annual holiday in Australia One or two short breaks in Australia near where you live Shorter breaks or day trips in your own city
Eating out Regularly eat out at restaurants. Good range and quality of food Infrequently eat out at restaurants. Cheaper and less food Only club special meals or inexpensive takeaway
Car Owning a reasonable car Owning an older, less reliable car No car – or, if you do, a struggle to afford the upkeep
Alcohol Bottled wine Casked wine Homebrew beer or no alcohol
Clothing Good clothes Reasonable clothes Basic clothes
Hair Regular haircuts at a good hairdresser Regular haircuts at a basic salon Less frequent haircuts or getting a friend to do it
Leisure A range of regular leisure activities One paid leisure activity, infrequently Free or low-cost leisure activities
Electronics A range of electronic equipment Not much scope to run an air conditioner Less heating in winter
Maintenance Replace kitchen and bathroom over 20 years No budget for home improvements. Can do repairs, but can’t replace kitchen or bathroom No budget to fix home problems like a leaky roof
Insurance Private health insurance Private health insurance No private health insurance

When can I access my superannuation?

You can withdraw your superannuation when you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

The preservation age – which is different to the pension age – is based on date of birth. Here are the six different categories:

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
From 1 July 1964 60

A transition to retirement allows you to continue working while accessing up to 10 per cent of the money in your superannuation account at the start of each financial year.

There are also seven special circumstances under which you can claim your superannuation:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

 

Is superannuation compulsory?

Superannuation is compulsory. Generally speaking, it can’t be touched until you’re at least 55 years old.

Is superannuation taxed?

Superannuation is taxed. It is generally taxed at 15 per cent. However, if you earn less than $37,000, you will be automatically reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid. Also, if your income plus concessional superannuation contributions exceed $250,000, you will also be charged Division 293 tax. This is an extra 15 per cent tax on your concessional contributions or the amount above $250,000 – whichever is lesser.

How much superannuation do I need?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), here is how much you would be able to spend per week during retirement:

Lifestyle Singles Couples
Modest $465 $668
Comfortable $837 $1,150

Here is the superannuation balance you would need to fund that level of spending:

Lifestyle Singles Couples
Modest $50,000 $35,000
Comfortable $545,000 $640,000

These figures come from the March 2017 edition of the ASFA Retirement Standard.

The reason people on modest lifestyles need so much less money is because they qualify for a far bigger age pension.

Here is how ASFA defines retirement lifestyles:

Category Comfortable Modest Age pension
Holidays One annual holiday in Australia One or two short breaks in Australia near where you live Shorter breaks or day trips in your own city
Eating out Regularly eat out at restaurants. Good range and quality of food Infrequently eat out at restaurants. Cheaper and less food Only club special meals or inexpensive takeaway
Car Owning a reasonable car Owning an older, less reliable car No car – or, if you do, a struggle to afford the upkeep
Alcohol Bottled wine Casked wine Homebrew beer or no alcohol
Clothing Good clothes Reasonable clothes Basic clothes
Hair Regular haircuts at a good hairdresser Regular haircuts at a basic salon Less frequent haircuts or getting a friend to do it
Leisure A range of regular leisure activities One paid leisure activity, infrequently Free or low-cost leisure activities
Electronics A range of electronic equipment Not much scope to run an air conditioner Less heating in winter
Maintenance Replace kitchen and bathroom over 20 years No budget for home improvements. Can do repairs, but can’t replace kitchen or bathroom No budget to fix home problems like a leaky roof
Insurance Private health insurance Private health insurance No private health insurance