Find and compare Australia's top performing superannuation funds

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5.40%

$92

smartMonday

$622

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
More details
5.69%

$68

Legalsuper

$628

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Platinum
More details
6.14%

$78

MTAA Super

$443

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

$78

MLC

$723

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Platinum
More details
6.78%

$73

WA Super

$513

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

$575

BT Financial Group

$1.2k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
5.39%

$180

IOOF

$1.1k

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

$0

HUB24 Limited

$452

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
3.66%

$91

AMP Bank

$701

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

$0

Electricity Industry Superannuation Scheme

$365

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

$39

Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme

$554

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

$117

First Super

$597

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

$0

Goldman Sachs JBWere Superannuation Fund

$335

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

Learn more about superannuation

If you’re joining a super fund for the first time or looking to switch funds, it’s worth considering the different types of superannuation funds out there and the features of each.

There are lots of superannuation funds to choose from, so you don’t just have to pick the most common fund or your employer’s chosen fund. Taking the time to do some research and choose the best fund for your needs can have a big impact on your financial standing during retirement.

What is a superannuation fund?

Superannuation (commonly known as ‘super’) is money that’s put aside and invested while you’re working so you’ll have money to live off when you retire. A super fund operates as a trust where your money is collected with other members' money and invested on your behalf by a trustee. Generally, you will not be able to access your super money until you retire.

If you’re employed, your employer will make contributions to your chosen super fund on your behalf, and you can also make additional voluntary contributions of your own. If you’re a low-income earner, the government may also make contributions to your super fund for you.

What are the types of superannuation funds?

Understanding the different types of super funds will make it easier to choose one that’s right for you. Each superannuation fund falls into one of the following categories:

MySuper

MySuper funds are a replacement for existing default accounts offered by super funds. Your employer must pay your employer contributions into a MySuper account if you don’t nominate a fund yourself. Different types of funds (such as industry funds and public sector funds) may offer MySuper accounts.

MySuper accounts typically offer:

  • Lower fees
  • Simple features so you don't pay for services you don't need
  • Life insurance unless otherwise requested

This type of fund allows you to manage your investments into two ways:

  • Single diversified investment strategy – Your money is put in a standard mix of investments with the same risk-reward approach for your whole life.
  • Lifecycle investment strategy – Your money is moved from growth investments when you're younger to more conservative investments when you're older. This allows you to take on more risk when you’re younger and can afford to wait out the peaks and troughs of the market.

Retail funds

Retail funds are commonly run by banks or investment companies, and they can usually be joined by anyone. The fund’s shareholders expect to receive a return on their investment, and a percentage of the profits of these retail super funds goes to the shareholders. Common features include:

  • A large number of investment options, which could be beneficial if you want more control over where your money is invested
  • Mid to high fees
  • Usually accumulation funds

Industry funds

Some industry funds are restricted to employees in a specific industry, whereas other larger funds are open to anyone. Common features include:

  • Operating as ‘not-for-profit’, which means any profits earned are invested back into the fund for the benefit of members
  • Relatively low fees
  • Low number of investment options, which may still be sufficient for the average person
  • Usually accumulation funds

Public sector funds

Most public sector super funds are only open to government employees. Common features include:

  • Contributions above the required minimum, in some cases
  • Low fees
  • Profits put back into the fund for the benefit of members
  • Defined benefits funds for some longer-term members, and accumulation funds for newer members

Corporate funds

Corporate funds are set up by employers for employees and may have an employer who also operates the fund under a board of trustees. They can also be included as a separate part of a large retail or industry super fund. Common features include:

  • Low to mid cost for big company funds, and a higher cost for smaller employers
  • A wide range of investment options for those that are part of a larger fund
  • Both defined benefits funds and accumulation funds
  • A mix of not-for-profit and for-profit funds

Eligible rollover funds

Eligible rollover funds (ERFs) are holding accounts for lost or inactive members with a low account balance. These funds vary in terms of fees and returns, and can be consolidated with active super funds.

Self-managed super funds

A self-managed super fund (SMSF) offers full control over where your money is invested. An SMSF is a private superannuation fund that you manage yourself, and is regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

These funds are generally only suitable for people with a thorough understanding of the financial and legal responsibilities of managing a super fund. Set-up and running costs can be expensive, so it’s usually worth the cost only if you have a large balance.

What’s the difference between accumulation funds and defined benefits funds?

Today, most types of superannuation funds are accumulation funds. They’re called ‘accumulation’ funds because your money grows over time. Factors affecting the value of your accumulation fund super include:

  • Your employer contributions
  • Your voluntary contributions
  • How much you receive in bonus contributions
  • How much your fund earns from investing your super
  • Fees charged
  • Your chosen investment options

Defined benefit funds, on the other hand, are uncommon corporate or public sector funds. They’re called ‘defined benefit’ because you get paid a set amount (based on a formula) once you retire. Most defined benefit funds are closed to new members. Factors affecting your defined benefit fund super value include:

  • Your employer contributions
  • Your voluntary contributions
  • Your length of employment
  • Your salary at retirement

In many cases, it’s advisable to stay with a defined benefit fund rather than switching to an accumulated fund. However, every fund is different, so it’s worth talking to a professional if you’re part of a defined benefit fund and thinking about changing.

What happens to my super money?

Regardless of the type of fund you’re a member of, your super money will be invested by your super fund’s trustee. Investment options differ between funds, but usually include a mix of different asset categories, as well as single-sector options such as cash, property and shares.

Returns on your investment will depend on the investment options you choose, so it’s important to consider what’s best for your circumstances. For example, if you’re under 30, you might be willing to take on higher-risk investments and transition to more stable investments as you move towards retirement.

When you retire, you can choose to access your super money as a lump sum, a regular income stream, or a combination of both.

How to choose a superannuation fund

When choosing a new super fund, consider:

  • The pros and cons of your current fund (if you have one)
  • Your current financial standing
  • The industry in which you’re employed and the types of funds available to you
  • Your knowledge of financial markets
  • How long you have until retirement

Every type of fund is different, so it’s important consider the benefits and drawbacks of each given your circumstances. Compare superannuation funds for your age, current super balance and preferences to find one that works for you.

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 is the difference between accumulation and defined benefit funds?

A majority of Australians are in accumulation funds. These funds grow according to the amount of money invested and the return on that money.

A minority of Australians are in defined benefit funds – many of which are now closed to new members. These funds give payouts according to specific rules, such as how long the worker has been with their employer and their final salary before they retired.

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

How do you set up superannuation?

Before you set up a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

How do you create a superannuation account?

Before you create a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

What happens to my insurance cover if I change superannuation funds?

Some superannuation funds will allow you to transfer your insurance cover, without interruption, if you switch. However, others won’t. So it’s important you check before changing funds.

How do I choose the right superannuation fund?

Different superannuation funds charge different fees, offer different insurances, offer different investment options and have different performance histories.

So you need to ask yourself these four questions when comparing superannuation funds:

  • How many fees would I have to pay and what would they cost?
  • What insurances are available and how much would they cost?
  • What investment options does it offer? How would they match my risk profile and financial needs?
  • How have these investment options performed historically?

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

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is money set aside for your retirement. This money is automatically paid into your superannuation fund by your employer.

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 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

How long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

Click here for more information.

SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

Click here for more information.

Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

Click here for more information.

What will the superannuation fund do with my money?

Your money will be invested in an investment option of your choosing.

How do I combine several superannuation accounts into one account?

The process used to consolidate several superannuation accounts into one is the same process used to change superannuation funds. This can be done through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your chosen fund.