Colonial First State

Colonial First State - FirstChoice Personal Super

No. of members:
Fund size: $133b
Public offer:
Product type: Master Trust-Personal
Target market: All Industries
Year started: 2002
Past 5-year return
3.41%
Admin fee

$0

Calc fees on 50k

$585

SuperRatings awards
MyChoice Silver
Past 5-year return
3.41%
Admin fee

$0

Calc fees on 50k

$585

SuperRatings awards
MyChoice Silver

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

  • FirstChoice has become the most widely used platform in Australia.
  • The fund offers advisers and their clients superior service award-winning online functionality.
  • FirstChoice offers a wide range of investment and insurance options, all for some of the lowest fees in the platform market.

Summary

Colonial First State FirstChoice Personal Super was established in 2002 to provide for the retirement needs of members from a wide range of industries. The fund is no longer accepting applications for new members but continues to service existing members.Colonial First State offers a comprehensive investment menu of diversified and single sector investment options, as well as FirstRate Wholesale term deposits and cash. The FirstChoice Moderate option underperformed the relevant SuperRatings Index over the 10 years to 30 June 2019; however, the extensive investment menu means returns will vary depending on the option and manager selected.Fees are higher than the industry average across all account balances assessed. There are no switching fees, although a buy-sell spread may apply. Colonial First State FirstChoice Personal Super's insurance offering allows eligible members to apply for up to $5 million of Death cover and up to up to $3 million of TPD cover. Members can also apply to increase cover following the occurrence of a prescribed Life Event without additional underwriting. Income Protection with a benefit period of 2 years or to age 65, covering up to 85% of salary, is available following a 30 or 90 day waiting period. Members can access account information online via FirstNet. The fund further offers a range of online tools, education resources and provides various calculators to ensure members are well informed of their retirement needs.

Features and Fees

Colonial First State Fees and Features

Features

Variety of options

Binding nominations

Account size discount

Online Access

Home loans

Financial planning service

Non-lapsing binding nominations

Employer size discount

Anti-detriment payments

Credit cards

Insurance Cover

Health insurance

Insurance life event increases

Total and permanent disability cover

Long term income protection

Fees

Admin fee

$0

Administration fee (%)

0.2%

Switching fee

$0

Investment fee

0.84%

Indirect cost ratio (%)

0.13%

Exit fee

$0

Pros and Cons

  • FirstChoice has become the most widely used platform in Australia.
  • The fund offers advisers and their clients superior service award-winning online functionality.
  • FirstChoice offers a wide range of investment and insurance options, all for some of the lowest fees in the platform market.

Colonial First State FirstChoice Personal Super was established in 2002 to provide for the retirement needs of members from a wide range of industries. The fund is no longer accepting applications for new members but continues to service existing members.Colonial First State offers a comprehensive investment menu of diversified and single sector investment options, as well as FirstRate Wholesale term deposits and cash. The FirstChoice Moderate option underperformed the relevant SuperRatings Index over the 10 years to 30 June 2019; however, the extensive investment menu means returns will vary depending on the option and manager selected.Fees are higher than the industry average across all account balances assessed. There are no switching fees, although a buy-sell spread may apply. Colonial First State FirstChoice Personal Super's insurance offering allows eligible members to apply for up to $5 million of Death cover and up to up to $3 million of TPD cover. Members can also apply to increase cover following the occurrence of a prescribed Life Event without additional underwriting. Income Protection with a benefit period of 2 years or to age 65, covering up to 85% of salary, is available following a 30 or 90 day waiting period. Members can access account information online via FirstNet. The fund further offers a range of online tools, education resources and provides various calculators to ensure members are well informed of their retirement needs.

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Colonial First State Fees and Features

Features

Variety of options

Binding nominations

Account size discount

Online Access

Home loans

Financial planning service

Non-lapsing binding nominations

Employer size discount

Anti-detriment payments

Credit cards

Insurance Cover

Health insurance

Insurance life event increases

Total and permanent disability cover

Long term income protection

Fees

Admin fee

$0

Administration fee (%)

0.2%

Switching fee

$0

Investment fee

0.84%

Indirect cost ratio (%)

0.13%

Exit fee

$0
Fund fees vs. Industry average
THIS FUND
INDUSTRY AVERAGE
Fund past-5-year return vs. Industry average
THIS FUND
INDUSTRY AVERAGE
Investment allocation
INTERNATIONAL SHARES
AUSTRALIAN SHARES
PROPERTY
ALTERNATIVES
FIXED INTEREST
CASH
OTHER
Investment option performance
BALANCED
HIGH GROWTH
CONSERVATIVE BALANCE
SECURE
DIVERSIFIED FIXED INTEREST
GROWTH
AUSTRALIAN SHARES
INTERNATIONAL SHARES
PROPERTY
+ View additional option performance information
Product
Past 5-year return
Admin fee
Company
Calc fees on 50k
Features
SuperRatings awards
Go to site
4.27%

$0

Colonial First State

$730

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Other
More details
4.07%

$60

Colonial First State

$650

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
4.12%

$0

Colonial First State

$570

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
3.41%

$0

Colonial First State

$585

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Silver
More details
4.01%

$60

Colonial First State

$560

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Gold
More details
4.53%

$0

Colonial First State

$1.1k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Other
More details
5.43%

$0

Colonial First State

$865

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Other
More details

FAQs

Can I buy a house with my superannuation?

First home buyers are the only people who can use their superannuation to buy a property. The federal government has created the First Home Super Saver Scheme to help first home buyers save for a deposit. First home buyers can make voluntary contributions of up to $15,000 per year, and $30,000 in total, to their superannuation account. These contributions are taxed at 15 per cent, along with deemed earnings. Withdrawals are taxed at marginal tax rates minus a tax offset of 30 percentage points.

Voluntary contributions to the First Home Super Saver Scheme are not exempt from the $25,000 annual limit on concessional contributions. So if you pay $15,000 per year into the First Home Super Saver Scheme, you have to make sure that you don’t receive more than $10,000 in superannuation payments from your employer and any salary sacrificing.

Can I carry on a business in an SMSF?

SMSFs are allowed to carry on a business under two conditions.

First, this must be permitted under the trust deed.

Second, the sole purpose of the business must be to earn retirement benefits.

When did superannuation start?

Australia’s modern superannuation system – in which employers make compulsory contributions to their employees – started in 1992. However, before that, there were various restricted superannuation schemes applying to certain employees in certain industries. The very first superannuation scheme was introduced in the 19th century.

What compliance obligations does an SMSF have?

SMSFs must maintain comprehensive records and submit to annual audits.

How do I wind up an SMSF?

There are five things you must do if you want to close your SMSF:

  1. Fulfil any obligations listed in the trust deed
  2. Pay out or roll over all the superannuation
  3. Conduct a final audit
  4. Lodge a final annual return
  5. Close the fund’s bank account

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF is a self-managed superannuation fund. SMSFs have to follow the same rules and restrictions as ordinary superannuation funds.

SMSFs allow Australians to directly invest their superannuation, rather than let ordinary funds manage their money for them.

SMSFs are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). They can have up to four members. All members must be trustees (or directors if there is a corporate trustee).

Unlike with ordinary funds, SMSF members are responsible for meeting compliance obligations.

What are the risks and challenges of an SMSF?

  • SMSFs have high set-up and running costs
  • They come with complicated compliance obligations
  • It takes a lot of time to research investment options
  • It can be difficult to make such big financial decisions

What should I know before getting an SMSF?

Four questions to ask yourself before taking out an SMSF include:

  1. Do I have enough superannuation to justify the higher set-up and running costs?
  2. Am I able to handle complicated compliance obligations?
  3. Am I willing to spend lots of time researching investment options?
  4. Do I have the skill to make big financial decisions?

It’s also worth remembering that ordinary superannuation funds usually offer discounted life insurance and disability insurance. These discounts would no longer be available if you decided to manage your own super.

How do I set up an SMSF?

Setting up an SMSF takes more work than registering with an ordinary superannuation fund. 

An SMSF is a type of trust, so if you want to create an SMSF, you first have to create a trust.

To create a trust, you will need trustees, who must sign a trustee declaration. You will also need identifiable beneficiaries and assets for the fund – although these can be as little as a few dollars.

You will also need to create a trust deed, which is a document that lays out the rules of your SMSF. The trust deed must be prepared by a qualified professional and signed by all trustees.

To qualify as an Australian superannuation fund, the SMSF must meet these three criteria:

  • The fund must be established in Australia – or at least one of its assets must be located in Australia
  • The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia
  • The fund must have active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the fund’s assets – or it must have no active members

Once your SMSF is established and all trustees have signed a trustee declaration, you have 60 days to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

When completing the ABN application, you should ask for a tax file number for your fund. You should also ask for the fund to be regulated by the Australian Taxation Office – otherwise it won’t receive tax concessions.

Your next step is to open a bank account in your fund’s name. This account must be kept separated from the accounts held by the trustees and any related employers.

Your SMSF will also need an electronic service address, so it can receive contributions.

Finally, you will need to create an investment strategy, which explains how your fund will invest its money, and an exit strategy, which explains how and why it would ever close.

Please note that you can pay an adviser to set up your SMSF. You might also want to take the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trustee Education Program, which is a free program that has been created by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

What is an SMSF investment strategy?

All SMSFs are required to have an investment strategy, which should explain what assets the fund will buy and what objectives it will pursue. This strategy must be reviewed regularly.

Issues to consider include how much risk the SMSF will take, how easily its assets can be converted into cash and how it will pay out benefits.

What contributions can SMSFs accept?

SMSFs can accept mandated employer contributions from an employer at any time (Funds need an electronic service address to receive the contributions).

However, SMSFs can’t accept contributions from members who don’t have tax file numbers.

Also, they generally can’t accept assets as contributions from members and they generally can’t accept non-mandated contributions for members who are 75 or older.

How are SMSFs allowed to invest their funds?

SMSFs can invest in conventional assets such as shares, term deposits, managed funds and property.

SMSFs can also buy ‘collectibles’ such as artwork, jewellery, antiques, coins, stamps, vintage cars and wine – although there are special rules that apply to collectibles.

Investments must be made on an arm’s length basis, which means that assets must be bought and sold at market prices, while income must reflect the market rate of return.

As a general rule, SMSFs can’t buy assets from members or related parties.

How are SMSFs taxed?

Funds that follow the rules are taxed at the concessional rate of 15 per cent. Funds that don’t follow the rules are taxed at the highest marginal tax rate.

How does superannuation affect the age pension?

Most Australians who are of retirement age can qualify for the age pension. However, depending on the size of your assets and post-retirement income, you might be entitled to only a reduced pension. In some instances, you might not be entitled to any pension payments.

How is superannuation calculated?

Superannuation is calculated at the rate of 9.5 per cent of your gross salary and wages. So if you had a salary of $50,000, your superannuation would be 9.5 per cent of that, or $4,750. This would be paid on top 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.

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm a casual employee?

As a casual employee, you’re entitled to superannuation if:

  • You’re over 18 and earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month
  • You’re under 18, you work more than 30 hours per week and you earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month

What is MySuper?

MySuper accounts are basic, low-fee accounts. If you don’t nominate a superannuation fund, your employer must choose one for you that offers a MySuper account.

MySuper accounts offer two investment options:

  1. Single diversified investment strategy

Your fund assigns you a risk strategy and investment profile, which remain unchanged throughout your working life.

  1. Lifecycle investment strategy

Your fund assigns you an investment strategy based on your age, and then changes it as you get older. Younger workers are given strategies that emphasise growth assets

Is superannuation included in taxable income?

Superannuation is not included when calculating your income tax. So if you have a salary of $50,000, your assessable income would be $50,000, not $50,000 plus superannuation.

That said, superannuation itself is taxed. It is generally taxed at 15 per cent, although if you earn less than $37,000, you will be reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid.

Can I transfer money from overseas into my superannuation account?

Yes, you can transfer money from overseas into your superannuation account – under certain conditions. First, you must provide your tax file number to your fund. Second, if you are aged between 65 and 74, you must have worked at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days in a financial year. (Australians under 65 aren’t subject to a work test; Australians aged 75 and over cannot receive contributions to their superannuation account.)

Money transferred from overseas will generally count to both your concessional contributions limit and your non-concessional contributions limit. You will have to pay income tax on the applicable fund earnings component of any money transferred from overseas. You might also be liable for excess contributions tax.

Can I take money out of my superannuation fund?

Superannuation is designed to provide Australians with money in their retirement. The government has strict rules around when people can take that money out of their fund because it wants to prevent people eroding their savings before they reach retirement.

As a general rule, you can only take money out of your superannuation fund when you reach:

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

That said, you can take money out of your superannuation fund early based on one of these seven special conditions:

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