AustralianSuper vs HESTA: Which super fund is right for you?

Tossing up between AustralianSuper and HESTA? We've compared their fees, investment options and performance side by side to help you choose.

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AustralianSuper and HESTA are two of the biggest super funds in Australia. Both are industry super funds which are open to all Australians to join. HESTA is the dedicated industry super fund for the healthcare and community services sector. AustralianSuper isn't associated with one particular industry, but is the largest super fund in Australia.

AustralianSuper 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.

AustralianSuperHESTA
Type of fundIndustry super fund and Australia's largest super fundIndustry super fund with a focus on the healthcare sector
Number of members2.3 million members860,000 members
Funds under management$181 billion$52.7 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.

HESTA Balanced Growth

Similar to AustralianSuper Balanced, this is a ready-made investment portfolio with a strong focus on shares, private equity and infrastructure. 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:

  • 10 years: 7.31% p.a.
  • 5 years: 7.37% p.a.
  • 3 years: 6.67% p.a.
Past performance of HESTA Balanced Growth:

  • 10 years: 6.9% p.a.
  • 5 years: 6.27% p.a.
  • 3 years: 5.84% 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 HESTA Balanced Growth:

  • $5,000 balance: $122.68 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $538.53 in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $1,000.59 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 (HESTA Balanced Growth), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:

  • High Growth
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Indexed Balanced Growth
  • Conservative
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
  • Property and Infrastructure
  • Diversified Bonds
  • Cash and Term Deposits
Ethical investmentThe AustralianSuper Socially Aware option doesn't invest in Australian or international companies that directly own coal and fossil fuel reserves, produce tobacco or those which have single-gender boards. AustralianSuper lists all its fund holdings on its website.

Past performance of AustralianSuper Socially Aware:

  • 1 year: -2.07% p.a.
  • 3 years: 4.83% p.a.
  • 5 years: 6.1% p.a.

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

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.

Past performance of HESTA Sustainable Growth:

  • 1 year: 2.66% p.a.
  • 3 years: 7.39% p.a.
  • 5 years: 8.61% p.a.

If you had $50,000 invested in HESTA Sustainable Growth you'd pay annual fees of $549.99.

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.The HESTA mobile app has a 1.5-star rating from users in the Google Play Store and a 1.3-star rating in the Apple App Store.
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How do the default MySuper products compare?

Both funds are popular industry super funds, though AustralianSuper has significantly more members and more funds under management than HESTA.

The two default MySuper options are AustralianSuper Balanced 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.

Looking at their investment allocation, AustralianSuper Balanced has more exposure to international shares than HESTA Balanced Growth. Overall, AustralianSuper Balanced has a bit more exposure to high-risk, growth assets, but the difference is only minor.

How do their fees and performance figures compare?

Looking at the default options, AustralianSuper has lower annual fees than HESTA. AustralianSuper Balanced has also delivered higher returns than HESTA Balanced Growth over the short, medium and long term.

How do the ethical investment options compare?

Both AustralianSuper Socially Aware and HESTA Sustainable Growth avoid investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and gambling among many other harmful industries. However, AustralianSuper is more transparent with its investments; it has a full list of its fund holdings on its website for you to see exactly which companies it invests in, while HESTA only lists its top holdings.

HESTA Sustainable Growth has achieved better returns than AustralianSuper Socially Aware over the short, medium and long term. It even achieved a positive return of 2.66% p.a. for the year ending in June 2020, which is impressive given the big falls in global share markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic (AustralianSuper Socially Aware achieved a negative return of -2.07% p.a. in comparison). However, HESTA's fees are slightly higher.

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?

AustralianSuper and HESTA offer very similar additional investment options. AustralianSuper offers one extra pre-mixed portfolio option than HESTA, but both funds offer five single asset class options each. Again, HESTA charges slightly higher fees for its additional investment options compared to AustralianSuper.

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 AustralianSuper or HESTA 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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