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.

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Sunsuper and HESTA are both member-owned super funds which are open to all Australians to join.

Sunsuper 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.

SunsuperHESTA
Type of fundIndustry super fundIndustry super fund with a focus on the healthcare sector
Number of members1.4 million members860,000 members
Funds under management$68.7 billion$52.7 billion
Default investment optionSunsuper Lifecycle

This fund is also 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 life-cycle 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 Sunsuper Lifecycle, the investment allocation is the same for all members in the HESTA Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.

PerformancePast performance of Sunsuper Lifecycle:

  • 5 years: 6.45% p.a.
  • 3 years: 5.7% p.a.
Past performance of HESTA Balanced Growth:

  • 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 Sunsuper Lifecycle:

  • $5,000 balance: $115.50 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $453 in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $828 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 (Sunsuper Lifecycle), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:

  • Growth
  • Balanced
  • Balanced - Indexed
  • Socially Conscious Balanced
  • Diversified Alternatives
  • Retirement
  • Conservative
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:

  • Shares
  • Australian Shares
  • Property
  • Diversified Bonds
  • Cash
  • Australian Shares (Indexed)
  • International Shares (indexed hedged)
  • International Shares (indexed unhedged)
  • Emerging Markets Shares
  • Australian Property (Indexed)
  • Diversified Bonds (Indexed)
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 Sunsuper 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.

This fund is certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.

Past performance of Sunsuper Socially Conscious Balanced:

  • 1 year: 0.19% p.a.
  • 3 years: 5.54% p.a.
  • 5 years: 5.97% p.a.

If you had $50,000 invested in Sunsuper Socially Conscious Balanced you'd pay annual fees of $528.

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.

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 Sunsuper app has a 3.9-star rating from users in the Google Play Store and a 2.5-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.

How do the default MySuper products compare?

The two default MySuper options are Sunsuper 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, Sunsuper 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. Sunsuper'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 Sunsuper Socially Conscious Balanced investment and HESTA Sustainable Growth avoid investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and gambling among many other harmful industries. However, Sunsuper 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 Sunsuper 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 Sunsuper offers seven, so you've got more choice with Sunsuper. 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 Sunsuper. It offers 11 individual asset class options while HESTA only offers five. The main difference here is Sunsuper 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 Sunsuper 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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