Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper) vs HESTA: Which super fund is right for you?
We've compared the fees, investment options and performance for both Sunsuper and HESTA to help you choose between these two popular super funds.
NOTE: Sunsuper has changed its name to be Australian Retirement Trust, and merged with QSuper. All the previous Sunsuper investment options have remained the same.
Australian Retirement Trust and HESTA are both member-owned super funds which are open to all Australians to join.
Australian Retirement Trust vs HESTA
Let's dive in and compare the two super funds side by side, so you can see which one might be right for you.
|Australian Retirement Trust||HESTA|
|Type of fund||Public-offer industry fund||Industry super fund with a focus on the healthcare sector|
|Number of members||+2 million members||860,000 members|
|Default investment option||Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) - Lifecycle |
This fund is a pre-mixed, diversified fund that invests in a range of assets with a strong allocation towards Australian and international shares and is an authorised MySuper product.
This product is also a lifecycle fund that will automatically reduce your exposure to high-risk assets like shares as you get closer to retirement. It's split into three different life stages.
|HESTA Balanced Growth|
This is a ready-made investment portfolio with a strong focus on shares, private equity and infrastructure. Unlike Australian Retirement Trust - Lifecycle, the investment allocation is the same for all members in the HESTA Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.
|Performance||Past performance of Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) - Lifecycle Balanced Pool, to June 2023:||Past performance of HESTA Balanced Growth, to June 2023:|
|Fees||Here's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in this product:||Here's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in HESTA Balanced Growth:|
|Additional diversified investment options||If you don't want to invest in the default option (Australian Retirement Trust Lifecycle), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:||If you don't want to invest in the default option (HESTA Balanced Growth), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:|
|Single asset class investment options||If you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:||If you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:|
|Ethical investment||The Australian Retirement Trust Socially Conscious Balanced investment option avoids investment in companies that generate more than 5% of their revenue from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, coal or nuclear power manufacturing among other harmful industries.|
This fund is certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
|The HESTA Sustainable Growth option invests in companies "with above average environmental, social and governance performance". It lists its top 20 holdings on its website.|
This fund is not certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
How do the default MySuper products compare?
The two default MySuper options are Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) - Lifecycle and HESTA Balanced Growth. These two products are very similar; both are authorised MySuper products, both are pre-mixed, diversified funds and both have a similar risk level.
However, Australian Retirement Trust Lifecycle is a lifestage fund which adjusts your investment mix in line with your age group. This product will gradually reduce your exposure to growth assets like shares as you get older and closer to retirement, to help minimise your risk of loss and volatility. HESTA Balanced Growth has the same investment mix for all members, regardless of age.
How do their fees and performance figures compare?
Both these funds have delivered very similar returns over the past three and five year periods. Australian Retirement Trust's default fund has lower fees than HESTA's default fund, which becomes more apparent on larger balances.
How do the ethical investment options compare?
Both Australian Retirement Trust Socially Conscious Balanced investment and HESTA Sustainable Growth avoid investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and gambling among many other harmful industries. However, Australian Retirement Trust is certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia while HESTA is not.
Both options have similar fees, however HESTA Sustainable Growth has achieved better returns than Australian Retirement Trust Socially Conscious Balanced over the short, medium and long term.
If you're interested in investing your super ethically, you can compare these funds with range of additional ethical super funds in our guide.
How do the additional investment options compare?
HESTA offers five additional pre-mixed portfolio options while Australian Retirement Trust offers seven, so you've got more choice with the latter. Both funds offer an indexed fund option, so if you're looking to invest your super in an indexed fund you can do this with either one.
For the individual sector asset class options, again you've got more choice with Australian Retirement Trust. It offers 11 individual asset class options while HESTA only offers five. The main difference here is Australian Retirement Trust offers several different shares options including indexed, hedged and unhedged options. HESTA doesn't offer an indexed option in its single sector options.
If you're unsure how these different options work with your super fund, here's a guide on superannuation investment options and how to choose between them.
Want to keep comparing?
If you're not yet convinced that either of these funds is right for you, or you simply want to see how they compare to others in the market, you can compare super funds with our guide.
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