Super assets rise but contributions continue to slip

Peter Terlato 24 August 2016

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Net contribution flows fell 13.9% year-on-year in 2015-16.

Australian superannuation assets increased to $2.1 trillion at the end of June 2016, but total member contributions for FY2015-16 fell slightly year-on-year to $103.8 billion.

New statistics from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) revealed total super assets rose 3.6% year-on-year in 2015-16, while annual contributions fell 0.3% year-on-year.

Quarterly performance figures for June 2016 show a 0.8% decrease in total contributions, from $30.4 billion in June 2015 to $30.1 billion in June 2016.

Net contribution flows (contributions and net benefit transfers less benefit payments) totalled $10.6 billion in the June 2016 quarter, down 17.1% on the June 2015 quarter ($12.8 billion). Net contribution flows for the year ending June 2016 decreased 13.9% year-on-year to $34 billion.

Benefits payments continue to rise, up 9.4% in June 2016, compared with the same period last year. There were $9.4 billion in lump sum benefits payments and $8.9 billion in pension benefit payments throughout the June quarter 2016.

Total annual benefits paid were $64.8 billion in 2015-16, representing a 6.2% year-on-year increase.

Following the release of the Government's budget in May this year, big changes for superannuation were announced, but most only impact the very wealthy.

However, it can be difficult to make long-term gains in superannuation when rates are edging towards zero. Expectations across the board are for lower future returns.

Earlier this month we reported market volatility and economic uncertainty were leading self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) to diversify investment options in the hopes of generating more steady returns.

When it comes to satisfaction with superannuation, industry super funds have been outperforming retail funds for more than 15 years.

It's also important to check your super accounts to find out if you're missing out on your share of the $11.7 billion idling in lost or inactive super accounts.

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