AustralianSuper vs Australian Ethical Super

Trying to decide between AustralianSuper and Australian Ethical Super? We've compared their fees, performance and investments to help you choose.

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AustralianSuper vs Australian Ethical Super

Let's dive in and compare the two super funds side by side, so you can see which one might be right for you.

AustralianSuperAustralian Ethical Super
Type of fundIndustry super fundRetail fund
Number of members2.3 million members59,000 members
Funds under management$181 billion$4.3 billion
Default investment optionAustralianSuper Balanced

This is a pre-mixed, diversified fund that invests your super in a range of assets with a strong allocation towards Australian and international shares, direct property and infrastructure. Investment allocation is the same for all members in the Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.

Australian Ethical Super Balanced

Similar to AustralianSuper Balanced, Australian Ethical Super Balanced is a ready-made investment portfolio, but it has a strong focus on ethical investments. This fund invests in a mix of local and international shares, property and alternative assets. Investment allocation is the same for all members in the Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.

PerformancePast performance of AustralianSuper Balanced as of June 2020:

  • 5 years: 7.37% p.a.
  • 3 years: 6.67% p.a.
Past performance of Australian Ethical Super Balanced as of June 2020:

  • 5 years: 6.88% p.a.
  • 3 years: 6.88% p.a.
FeesHere's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in AustralianSuper Balanced:

  • $5,000 balance: $165 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $411.18 in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $684.71 in fees

 

Here's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in Australian Ethical Super Balanced:

  • $5,000 balance: $149 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $622 in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $1,137 in fees

 

Additional diversified investment optionsIf you don't want to invest in the default option (AustralianSuper Balanced), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:

  • High Growth
  • Socially Aware
  • Indexed Diversified
  • Conservative Balanced
  • Stable
If you don't want to invest in the default option (Australian Ethical Balanced), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:

  • Advocacy (this is a high-growth option)
  • Growth
  • Conservative
  • Defensive
Single-asset class investment optionsIf you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:

  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares
  • Property
  • Diversified Fixed Interest
  • Cash
If you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:

  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares

Both these single asset class shares options also have a very small allocation towards cash (only about 5% of your balance).

Ethical investmentAustralianSuper offers one dedicated ethical investment option: AustralianSuper Socially Aware.

This investment option is a diversified fund that doesn't invest in Australian or international companies that directly own coal and fossil fuel reserves, produce tobacco or those that have single-gender boards. AustralianSuper lists all its fund holdings on its website.

Past performance of AustralianSuper Socially Aware as of June 2020:

  • 3 years: 4.83% p.a.
  • 5 years: 6.1% p.a.

If you had $50,000 invested in AustralianSuper Socially Aware, you'd pay annual fees of $472.

Unlike most other super funds which may offer one single ethical-themed investment option (if any at all), Australian Ethical Super is an ethical investment fund in its entirety. Each investment option is an ethical investment option.

Australian Ethical says it invests in companies that seek to have a positive impact on the planet, people and animals. This means it actively seeks investments in renewable energy, sustainable products, plant-based meat alternatives and healthcare. It also actively avoids any investment in coal, oil, tobacco, logging, gambling and unsustainable food production including live animal exports and companies which exploit workers.

Australian Ethical Super also actively campaigns for action on climate change and responsible agriculture. It is certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia. It's incredibly transparent on its approach to investing and you can see each company it invests in on its website as well as its position on certain industries.

Mobile appThe AustralianSuper app has a 3.6-star rating from users in the Google Play Store and a 3-star rating in the Apple App Store.Australian Ethical Super does not have a mobile app, but you can manage your super online using the desktop platform.
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How do the default MySuper products compare?

The two default MySuper options are AustralianSuper Balanced and Australian Ethical Super Balanced. Both are MySuper products and both are pre-mixed, diversified funds. They both have a very similar level of risk and have a similar level of exposure to international shares.

However, where they do differ is with Australian Ethical Super's complete focus on ethical and sustainable investing. Therefore, while both funds may have similar levels of exposure to shares, the individual companies each invests in are quite different.

How do their fees and performance figures compare?

AustralianSuper Balanced and Australian Ethical Super Balanced have similar fees for smaller balances. However, for larger balances of $50,000 or higher Australian Ethical Super has higher fees than AustralianSuper. One reason for Australian Ethical Super charging higher fees could be because its investment managers need to do a high level of research into each company it considers investing it, to ensure the company aligns with its strict and specific ethical standards.

These funds have achieved very similar returns over the past three-year period, but AustralianSuper Balanced has slightly outperformed Australian Ethical Super Balanced over the past five-year period.

How do the ethical investments compare?

If you're looking for an ethical super fund above all else, Australian Ethical Super will likely come out on top for you when compared with AustralianSuper. While Australian Super does offer one dedicated ethical investment option (AustralianSuper Socially Aware), Australian Ethical Super is an ethical fund in its entirety.

Australian Ethical Super has a strict and specific list of investment principals, including what is does and does not invest in and the reasons for this. As well as excluding investment in fossil fuels and coal, it also excludes companies that harm animals in the form of live exports or traditional agriculture and farming which it deems unsustainable. Instead, it actively includes investments in plant-based meat alternatives and other sustainable products.

However, the AustralianSuper Socially Aware investment option does charge lower fees than Australian Ethical Super. So this could be something to consider if you're concerned about investing ethically but also want to keep your costs to a minimum.

If you're interested in investing your super ethically, you can compare these funds with a range of additional ethical super funds in our guide.

How do the additional investment options compare?

AustralianSuper offers five additional pre-mixed super investment options instead of the default Balanced option, including an indexed option. Australian Ethical Super offers four additional pre-mixed investment options and does not offer an indexed option.

If you want to design your own investment mix using the single asset class options, you have a lot more choice with AustralianSuper. AustralianSuper offers five individual asset class options, including local and international shares, property, fixed interest and cash. Australian Ethical Super only offers two individual asset class options: Australian and New Zealand shares and International Shares.

Want to keep comparing?

If you're not yet convinced that either AustralianSuper or Australian Ethical Super 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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