Mercer

Mercer SmartPath - MySuper

No. of members: 194802
Fund size: $24.3b
Public offer:
Product type: Master Trust-MySuper
Target market: All IndustrIes
Year started: 2014
Past 5-year return
5.92%
Admin fee

$90

Calc fees on 50k

$767

SuperRatings awards
MySuper Platinum7 Year Platinum PerformanceMomentum FinalistInfinity Recognised
Past 5-year return
5.92%
Admin fee

$90

Calc fees on 50k

$767

SuperRatings awards
MySuper Platinum7 Year Platinum PerformanceMomentum FinalistInfinity Recognised

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

  • Fully integrated service model with all aspects of investments, consulting and administration owned and controlled by Mercer.
  • High quality retirement planning services, including education and advice.
  • Wide range of service channels including workplace education and advice, helpline and limited financial advice over the phone.

Summary

The Mercer Super Trust is one of the largest corporate super platforms in Australia and provides members with a flexible range of competitive benefits. The fund was nominated as a finalist for the 2020 MyChoice Super of the Year and the 2020 Momentum awards, and is also Infinity Recognised, which is a result of its strong commitment to environmental and social principles.The fund's MySuper offering, Mercer SmartPath, is a whole of life investment strategy, with the underlying asset allocations adjusting according to a member's age and gradually 'gliding' from a growth-oriented investment strategy to a defensive-oriented strategy. The Mercer SmartPath MySuper Born 1959-1963 option outperformed the SuperRatings Index over the year to 30 June 2019; however, underperformed over the 3 and 5 year periods.Fees are higher than the industry average across medium and large account balances assessed. No fees are charged for switching investment options.A full suite of insurance is available, providing unlimited Death cover and a maximum of $5 million in Total & Permanent Disablement cover. Income Protection is available up to a maximum of 85% of salary with benefit payment periods of 2 years or to age 65, and a 90 day waiting period. Insurance premiums are tailored to each individual employer group and therefore premium rates provided here are indicative only.Members have access to Mercer financial advisers who can tailor super and retirement solutions to suit their needs. Mercer also provides a range of financial wellness workshops with flexible delivery methods. The fund's website incorporates Mercer Magazine and a Retirement Income Simulator tool, along with enabling members to consolidate super, view and update account details as well as perform transactions.

Features and Fees

Mercer 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

$90

Administration fee (%)

0.59%

Switching fee

$0

Investment fee

0.44%

Indirect cost ratio (%)

0.32%

Exit fee

$0

Pros and Cons

  • Fully integrated service model with all aspects of investments, consulting and administration owned and controlled by Mercer.
  • High quality retirement planning services, including education and advice.
  • Wide range of service channels including workplace education and advice, helpline and limited financial advice over the phone.

The Mercer Super Trust is one of the largest corporate super platforms in Australia and provides members with a flexible range of competitive benefits. The fund was nominated as a finalist for the 2020 MyChoice Super of the Year and the 2020 Momentum awards, and is also Infinity Recognised, which is a result of its strong commitment to environmental and social principles.The fund's MySuper offering, Mercer SmartPath, is a whole of life investment strategy, with the underlying asset allocations adjusting according to a member's age and gradually 'gliding' from a growth-oriented investment strategy to a defensive-oriented strategy. The Mercer SmartPath MySuper Born 1959-1963 option outperformed the SuperRatings Index over the year to 30 June 2019; however, underperformed over the 3 and 5 year periods.Fees are higher than the industry average across medium and large account balances assessed. No fees are charged for switching investment options.A full suite of insurance is available, providing unlimited Death cover and a maximum of $5 million in Total & Permanent Disablement cover. Income Protection is available up to a maximum of 85% of salary with benefit payment periods of 2 years or to age 65, and a 90 day waiting period. Insurance premiums are tailored to each individual employer group and therefore premium rates provided here are indicative only.Members have access to Mercer financial advisers who can tailor super and retirement solutions to suit their needs. Mercer also provides a range of financial wellness workshops with flexible delivery methods. The fund's website incorporates Mercer Magazine and a Retirement Income Simulator tool, along with enabling members to consolidate super, view and update account details as well as perform transactions.

Read More

Mercer 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

$90

Administration fee (%)

0.59%

Switching fee

$0

Investment fee

0.44%

Indirect cost ratio (%)

0.32%

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
CONSERVATIVE BALANCE
GROWTH
+ View additional option performance information
Product
Past 5-year return
Admin fee
Company
Calc fees on 50k
Features
SuperRatings awards
Go to site
New

$0

Mercer

$1.3k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
6.59%

$0

Mercer

$740

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
5.92%

$90

Mercer

$767

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Platinum7 Year Platinum PerformanceMomentum FinalistInfinity Recognised
More details
6.08%

$90

Mercer

$792

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum10 Year Platinum PerformanceMomentum FinalistInfinity RecognisedChoice Super of the Year Finalist
More details
New

$0

Mercer

$335

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice GoldBest New Innovation Finalist
More details

FAQs

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.

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.

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

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

 

What is the age pension's assets test?

The value of your assets affects whether you can qualify for the age pension – and, if so, how much.

The following assets are exempt from the assets test:

  • your principal home and up to two hectares of used land on the same title
  • all Australian superannuation investments from which a pension is not being paid – this exemption is valid until you reach age pension age
  • any property or money left to you in an estate, which you can’t get for up to 12 months
  • a cemetery plot and a prepaid funeral, or up to two funeral bonds, that cost no more than the allowable limit
  • aids for people with disability
  • money from the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with disability
  • principal home sale proceeds you’ll use to buy another home within 12 months
  • accommodation bonds paid on entry to residential aged care
  • any interest not created by you or your partner
  • a Special Disability Trust if it meets certain requirements
  • your principal home, if you vacate it for up to 12 months
  • granny flat rights where you pay more than the extra allowable amount

For full pensions, reductions apply when your assessable assets exceed these thresholds:

Category

Home owners

Non-home owners

Singles

$253,750

$456,750

Couples living together

$380,500

$583,500

Couples living apart due to ill health

$380,500

$583,500

Couples with only one partner eligible

$380,500

$583,500

For part pensions, reductions apply when your assessable assets exceed these thresholds:

Category

Home owners

Non-home owners

Singles

$550,000

$753,000

Couples living together

$827,000

$1,030,000

Couples living apart due to ill health

$973,000

$1,176,000

Couples with only one partner eligible

$827,000

$1,030,000

For transitional rate pensions, reductions apply when your assessable assets exceed these thresholds:

Category

Home owners

Non-home owners

Singles

$503,250

$706,250

Couples living together

$783,000

$986,000

Couples living apart due to ill health

$879,500

$1,082,500

Couples with only one partner eligible

$783,000

$986,000

How do you open a superannuation account?

Opening a superannuation account is simple. 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 might want to provide your tax file number as well – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm a contractor?

As a contractor, you’re entitled to superannuation if:

  • The contract is mainly for your labour
  • 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

Please note that you’re entitled to superannuation even if you have an Australian business number (ABN).

What is salary sacrificing?

A salary sacrifice is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Salary sacrifices come out of your pre-tax income, whereas personal contributions come out of your after-tax income.

How does superannuation work?

Superannuation is paid by employers to employees, at least once every three months. The ‘superannuation guarantee’ 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 guarantee 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.

Superannuation 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.

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

 

How do you find lost superannuation funds?

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.

You can use your MyGov account to see details of all your superannuation accounts, including any you might have forgotten. Alternatively, you can fill in a ‘Searching for lost super’ form and send it to the Australian Taxation Office, which will then search on your behalf.

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

How much money do you get on the age pension?

Pension payments can be reduced due to the income test and asset test (see ‘What is the age pension’s income test?’ and ‘What is the age pension’s assets test?’).

Here are the maximum fortnightly payments:

Category

Single

Couple each

Couple combined

Couple apart due to ill health

Maximum basic rate

$808.30

$609.30

$1,218.60

$808.30

Maximum pension supplement

$65.90

$49.70

$99.40

$65.90

Energy supplement

$14.10

$10.60

$21.20

$14.10

TOTAL

$888.30

$669.60

$1,339.20

$888.30