Best super funds

Looking for a better super fund? You've come to the right place. We've analysed the fees, performance and investment returns of 50+ super products to find you some of the best super funds in Australia for 2021.

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Find the best super fund for you

Name Product Last 1 year performance (p.a.) Last 3 year performance (p.a.) Last 5 year performance (p.a.) Last 10 year performance (p.a.) Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option
+20.46%
+9.6%
+10.46%
+9.74%
$476.18
AustralianSuper is an award-winning industry super fund and the largest super fund in Australia. The Balanced fund invests in a mix of different assets like shares, property and cash.
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
+17.96%
+10.33%
+9.67%
+9.01%
$622
Certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
Australian Ethical seeks to invest in companies that have a positive impact on the planet, people and animals, such as renewable energy and healthcare while avoiding investments in coal, oil, tobacco and gambling.
Spaceship GrowthX
+23.41%
+15.25%
New Fund
New Fund
$536
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver high returns over the long term.
Spaceship's GrowthX fund invests heavily in technology ETFs with high exposures to Australian and international shares. Performance figures and fees supplied by Spaceship, not Chant West.
UniSuper Balanced
+17.6%
+9.23%
+9.55%
+9.55%
$326
UniSuper is an industry super fund and one of Australia's largest super funds with more than 450,000 members. Its Balanced option invests in a mix of different asset classes and has achieved consistently high returns for members.
QSuper Lifetime
+17.11%
+9.02%
+8.61%
New Fund
$360
QSuper is one of the largest profit-for-members funds in Australia. QSuper Lifetime continually adjusts your investment mix in line with your age and your super account balance.
Virgin Money Super - Lifestage Tracker
+22.17%
+10.04%
New Fund
New Fund
$363
Virgin Money Super Lifestage Tracker has some of the lowest fees in the market. It invests in a range of different assets in line with your age, reducing your risk as you get older. Plus, you can earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points when you rollover your super, and on the contributions you make (T&Cs apply).
Sunsuper Lifecycle Balanced
+20.62%
+8.77%
+9.84%
+9.06%
$558
Sunsuper is an award-winning super fund with more than 1.4 million members. Its Lifecycle Balanced option invests your super in a mix of growth assets, and reduces your risk when you're near retirement.
Aware Super Growth
+18.02%
+8.81%
+9.8%
+8.97%
$519.42
Aware Super is a not-for-profit fund with more than 750,000 members. The MySuper product invests your super in a pre-mixed Growth fund until you’re 60, then it’ll switch to Balanced.
LUCRF MySuper Balanced
+18.66%
+7.64%
+8.44%
+7.96%
$497.64
LUCRF Super is an industry super fund open to all Australians with 11 different investment options available. Its default MySuper Balanced option is a simple, diversified portfolio designed to suit most members.
Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow
+17.36%
+7.42%
New Fund
New Fund
$528
A Catholic super fund open to all Australians and designed for people working in Catholic education, healthcare or aged care.The Lifetime One fund option changes your investment mix as you get older.
Verve Super Balanced
+6.2%
New Fund
New Fund
New Fund
$691.10
Verve Super is an ethical super fund tailored for women. It seeks to invest in companies making a positive impact, such as renewable energy and women in leadership, while avoiding those that cause harm, such as fossil fuels, tobacco and guns.
AustralianSuper - Socially Aware
+19.4%
+7.89%
+9.25%
+9.2%
$501.18
The 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. Investment performance as of 30 June 2020.
Aware Super - Diversified Socially Responsible Investment
+15.23%
+8.1%
+8.28%
+8.12%
$406.18
The Aware Super Diversified Socially Responsible Investment is a pre-mixed investment option that excludes companies operating in the tobacco, ammunition, gambling, alcohol, forest logging and pornography industries, as well as companies that attribute 20% or more of their revenue to coal, oil and gas.
Sunsuper - Socially Conscious Balanced
+19.6%
+8.76%
+8.83%
+8.25%
$463
Certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
The Sunsuper Socially Conscious Balanced option avoids investment in companies that have significant exposure (more than 5% of revenue) to alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, coal and nuclear power manufacturing. Investment performance as of 30 June 2020.
Aware Super High Growth
+23.12%
+10.54%
+11.73%
+10.61%
$534.42
QSuper Aggressive
+16.52%
+8.63%
+9.26%
+9.93%
$390
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The information in the table is based on data provided by Chant West Pty Ltd (AFSL 255320) which is itself supplied by third parties. While such information is believed to be accurate, Chant West does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such information. Chant West’s Financial Services Guide is available at https://www.chantwest.com.au/financial-services-guide . Finder offers no guarantees or warranties about the data and we recommend that users make their own enquiries before relying on this information. Performance, fees and insurance data is based on each fund's default MySuper product. Where the performance, fees and insurance data for the MySuper fund vary according to the member's age, results for individuals between 40-49 years of age have been shown. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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*Past performance data is for the period ending June 2021 as is not an indicator of future performance.

Which is the best super fund in Australia?

There's no one super fund which is 'best', and the best fund for you might not be the best for someone else. It really depends on what features are most important to you and what you're looking to achieve.

In general, a good super fund has the following features:

  • Low fees
  • A history of high long-term returns
  • An investment strategy that aligns with your risk tolerance, goals and personal values
  • A range of insurance options

Best-performing super funds 2021

Super fund10-year return (p.a to June 2021)
AustralianSuper Balanced9.7%
HostPlus Balanced9.7%
Cbus MySuper9.6%
UniSuper Balanced9.5%
CareSuper Balanced9.1%
Sunsuper Balanced9.1%
VicSuper MySuper9.0%
Australian Ethical Super Balanced9.0%
Vision Super Balanced Growth9.0%
Aware Super Growth9.0%

Super funds had a record year for the financial year ending in June 2021, delivering the best returns in more than 24 years. The median growth super fund returned 18% for the year ending 30 June 2021, according to Chant West. But it's important to look at the long-term performance returns of funds when comparing your options.

The best-performing growth super fund over the last 10 years is AustralianSuper Balanced. The table above looks at growth super funds only (super funds with 61-80% allocation to growth assets), using data from Chant West.

"The typical long-term return objective for growth funds is to beat inflation by 3.5% p.a., which translates to about 5.5% to 6% p.a.," said Chant West senior investment research manager Mano Mohankumar.

"We now have data going back 29 years to July 1992, the start of compulsory super. Over that period, the annualised return is 8.2% and the annual CPI increase is 2.4%, giving a real return of 5.8% p.a.," he said. AustralianSuper Balanced, as well as the other top 10 funds in the table above, have greatly out-performed this average return all achieving more than 9% p.a. over 10 years.

Promoted
AustralianSuper is an award-winning industry super fund and the largest super fund in Australia. The Balanced fund invests in a mix of different assets like shares, property and cash.

Remember, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and not a guarantee of future returns.

While it's not the only factor to consider, past investment performance is a key thing to look at when choosing a super fund. In a nutshell; high performance returns will help your super balance grow bigger (and quicker!) than it would with lower returns. Investment performance is the result of a few different factors including the fees charged by the super fund (as fees eat into investment returns) and the fund's investment strategy. In theory, a high growth super fund should deliver better returns over the long term than a balanced or conservative fund.

However, a high growth fund also increases the chances of more volatile returns in the short term. For this reason, you can't declare one single super fund product as the best-performing fund as you wouldn't be comparing apples with apples.

Instead of looking at every single super fund investment option in the market, we've looked at the best-performing growth super funds. Growth funds are where the majority of Australians have their super invested. Growth funds are usually the default investment option when joining a super fund, and are often the Balanced or MySuper products.

The worst performing super funds

The regulator APRA released a report on 31 August 2021 revealing the worst-performing super funds for 2021. These funds have all failed the performance test set out by the regulator, and must inform members by late September of this. These funds will be given one year to deliver better returns and, if they fail these performance test again, they'll need to move members into another fund that has performed better.

"Trustees of the 13 products that failed the test now face an important choice: they can urgently make the improvements needed to ensure they pass next year's test or start planning to transfer their members to a fund that can deliver better outcomes for them" said the regulator.

Here's a list of the worst-performing MySuper funds.

13 worst-performing super funds 2021

  • AMG Super - MySuper
  • ASGARD Independence Plan Division Two - Employee MySuper
  • Australian Catholic Superannuation - LifetimeOne
  • AvSuper - Growth (MySuper)
  • BOC Gases Superannuation Fund - MySuper
  • Christian Super - MyEthical Super
  • Colonial First State - FirstChoice Superannuation Trust
  • Commonwealth Bank Group Super - Accumulate Plus Balanced
  • Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme - Balanced MySuper
  • Labour Union Co-Operative Retirement Fund - MySuper Balanced
  • Maritime Super - MySuper
  • BT Super - MySuper
  • The Victorian Independent Schools Superannuation Fund - Balanced

What's the best industry super fund?

Industry super funds are a popular choice for many Australians as they often have low fees and competitive long-term returns. There are 15 industry super funds in Australia, which you can learn more about in our industry super funds guide. But if you're already set on joining an industry super fund, here's our top pick.

💬 Finder's industry super fund pick

AustralianSuper is our top pick for industry super funds. It's Australia's largest industry super fund, with more than 2.2 million members. Its default investment option, AustralianSuper Balanced, is consistently one of the top performing growth super funds year after year.

It also has the lowest fees of all the industry super fund's default products, and has 14 different investment options to choose between including an ethical option.

What's the best super fund for low fees?

You should always look at fees along with investment returns when choosing a super fund. This is because the fees you pay will impact the returns you get, as fees are deducted from returns. So lower fees means higher returns!High investment returns are definitely a big plus, but future investment returns are never guaranteed. Fees, on the other hand, are fixed and are within your control. By opting for a fund with low fees, you know you won't be paying too much even when investment markets are volatile and returns are lower.

So, what is considered to be a low-fee fund? The general idea is annual fees of less than 1% of the balance you've got invested are considered to be relatively low. For example if you had $100,000 invested, you should aim to keep you annual fees below $1000.

If you're looking for a MySuper fund with low fees, here's our pick.

💬 Finder's super fund pick for low fees

QSuper's default investment product, QSuper Lifetime, is our top pick for a low-fee MySuper product. It charges consistently low fees across all life stages and balance tiers. Young members with a balance of $5000 will pay less than $50 in fees for the full year.

As well as low fees, QSuper Lifetime has also delivered competitive investment returns for members over the long term (and its low fees have certainly helped keep returns high). In fact, leading super research firm Chant West named QSuper of its Best Fund: Investments 2020 award saying: "QSuper had a smaller allocation to equities and larger allocation to bonds, and it's helped them smooth the volatility of their investment performance in recent times. QSuper's investment model was designed to protect members in times just like this."

What about low-cost index super investment products?

You can pay even less in fees if you opt for an indexed investment option for your super. An indexed investment option invests in a mix of index funds (or exchange traded funds). An index fund tracks the performance of a whole index, for example the ASX200 or the NASDAQ, in one single trade. This is instead of buying each of the shares within the index individually which could be hundreds of different trades.

Because index funds simply mirror an established index, they are often passively managed and are therefore much cheaper to invest in. However, you often won't have exposure to other asset classes like non-listed assets (for example infrastructure), alternative assets or fixed interest. For this reason, indexed super investment options are usually higher risk than the default growth or balanced options, as they're less diversified.

Some of the best low-fee indexed super options include:

Indexed super fundAnnual fees
HostPlus Indexed Balanced0.21% p.a.
AustralianSuper Indexed Diversified0.41% p.a.
Sunsuper Balanced Index0.47% p.a.

What's the best ethical super fund?

Ethical means different things to different people. When looking for the best ethical super fund make sure you look for a fund that invests your super in a way that aligns with your values. As well as making sure the fund invests ethically and responsibly, you still want to consider the fees and performance of the fund too.

💬 Finder's ethical super fund pick

Australian Ethical Super Balanced is our top pick for an ethical super fund. It is one of just a handful of super funds to be certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, and the winner of a Finder Green Award.

What's the best super fund for my age group?

Some super funds offer a lifecycle or lifestage investment strategy as their default option for members. These products invest your super in a mix of asset classes in line with your age. The purpose of this is to ensure you're always taking on an appropriate amount of risk for your age. For example, lifecycle investment products will have a higher allocation towards high-risk growth assets like shares while you're young, and gradually decrease your exposure to shares as you get older. By the time you're ready to retire, your super will have a much greater allocation towards low-risk, defensive assets like cash and fixed interest in order to protect your nest egg from market volatility.

In comparison, a standard balanced or growth super investment option will invest in the same mix of asset classes for all members, regardless of your age.

If you like the idea of a super fund that invests your super in a mix of assets according to your age, here's our pick.

💬 Finder's super fund pick for lifestage or age-based investing

Virgin Money Super's default super product, Lifestage Tracker, is our top pick for a lifestage investment strategy. It offers 15 different lifestage investment allocations within the one product, while many others only offered a few different life stages. If you invest your super with Virgin Money Super Lifestage tracker, your investment allocation mix will be slightly readjusted every five years in line with your age.

As well as having lots of investment stages, Virgin Money Super Lifestage Tracker charges some of the lowest fees in the market, and has impressive past investment returns.

Lifecycle super fund vs balanced super fund: which is best?

Lifestage super products are becoming increasingly common, particularly among retail super funds. However, the majority of Australians still have their super invested in a standard, pre-mixed growth or balanced fund. There are pros and cons of each, and which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences and risk tolerance.Benefits of lifecycle super products:

  • Your super is invested in line with your age bracket.
  • Your super will have more exposure to high-growth assets while you're young than it would with a typical balanced or growth fund.
  • Your super will have less exposure to risky growth assets as you near retirement, meaning it could be better protected from major market falls.

Some downsides to lifecycle super products:

  • There is the potential for more growth while you're young, but there's also the potential for a lot more volatility.
  • Younger members could see their super experience large falls in value in the short term
  • Lifestage funds can often be less diversified than balanced or growth funds

Super research firm Chant West says that the lifestage funds for older age brackets have generally underperformed against standard growth super funds, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"The older cohorts (those born in the 1950s or earlier) are relatively less exposed to growth-orientated assets so you would expect them to underperform MySuper Growth funds over longer periods. Capital preservation is more important at those ages so, while they miss out on the full benefit in rising markets, older members in retail lifecycle options are better protected in the event of a market downturn, as was evident during the past year," said a Chant West investment manager.

How to pick the best super fund for you

There's no one super fund that is best for everyone (sorry!), so when comparing your options you should consider what's the most important for you. Look for a fund with low fees and strong investment returns, but also consider the following when looking for the right super fund:

  • Your age. If you're young, you might want a super fund that has a bit more exposure to high-growth assets like shares and property. These assets offer higher capital growth over the long term so are best for members with a long timeframe.
  • Your risk tolerance. Regardless of your age, you should invest your super in a fund that aligns with your personal risk tolerance. If having the majority of your super invested in high-risk assets like shares is going to keep you awake at night, you might want to consider a balanced fund instead of a high growth fund.
  • Your investment preferences. There are specialty funds that suit investors with particular preferences. For example, Superestate focuses on investing in residential properties in major capital cities, while Spaceship has a strong preference for international technology stocks.
  • Your personal values. If you don't want your super to be invested in industries like coal, fossil fuels, animal cruelty or ammunition manufacturing you might want to consider an ethical super fund.

Methodology

We rely on our proprietary algorithm to get our top super fund picks. Developed by Finder's data scientists and superannuation experts, our algorithm calculates hundreds of different data points to rank Australian super funds against a set of criteria.

The algorithm we've developed works behind the scenes to do the hard work for you when comparing super funds.

The super fund products we compare

Our algorithm compares the default product offered by more than 50 superannuation funds including retail, member-owned and industry super funds. Most of these are MySuper products and can be either a pre-mixed balanced/growth portfolio option or a lifestage/lifecycle investment option (more on how we treat lifestage options below).

Our algorithm does not look at every superannuation product available in the market. We have excluded the additional super investment products offered by funds outside of their default product. For example, we didn't look at the high growth, conservative, indexed or ethical investment option offered by the funds (unless it was the default option). We also didn't look at individual asset class options.

The reason we've narrowed down our comparison to the default super products is because these are where the majority of Australians have their super invested. Sticking with these funds means our algorithm can compare 'apples with apples', and offer a more accurate, useful and fair side-by-side comparison for you.

The performance, fees and investment data for these products is supplied to Finder by leading super research group Chant West.

How do we choose our super fund 'top picks'?

Our superannuation experts select a range of criteria that should be considered for each category. Not only do we select which features should be considered for each category, but we also decide how much weight each different feature should be given towards the super product's overall rank for each category. This is because, depending on the category, some features are more important than others.

Our data scientists then created an algorithm to calculate each super product's rank for each different category, taking into account the various data points and the weighting of those data points. The super product that ranks number one in a certain category is our top pick for that category.

Here's how we treat lifestage investment products.

Some super funds offer one pre-mixed portfolio as the default MySuper product to all members, regardless of their age. Other super funds offer a lifestage investment option as the default MySuper product, which means the investment product will be different depending on your age.

To calculate one single rank for a lifestage product that might have 10+ different life stages within it, we split the product up into three key age groups. We recorded the data points (for example the fees and performance) for members aged 20, 43 and 66. Then, the algorithm takes an average score of these three life stages, and arrives at one final rank for the lifestage super product.

Our superannuation specialists selected these three ages, 20, 43 and 66, so we can get an accurate average rank of the lifestage product for the largest variety of members. Each key age group is considered; young members just joining the workforce, middle-age members with established super balances who are still building their retirement wealth and, lastly, pre-retirees who are protecting their super balance.

By splitting the lifestage product into key age groups, the algorithm can more accurately compare these products against the single balanced or growth products offered by other funds.

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