Superannuation fees compared and explained

All super funds charge different fees, and you can save hundreds of dollars each year by comparing. Plus, here are some tips on how to reduce your super fees.

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Each super fund charges different fees, so you could save yourself a fair bit of cash by comparing your options. In a nutshell, the less you pay your super fund in fees, the more you'll be left with in your account at retirement.
Spaceship's investment portfolio has a strong focus on technology ETFs.

Spaceship's GrowthX fund is a high-growth option with increased exposure to Australian and international shares, aiming for strong long-term returns.
Green Company
Certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.

This fund invests in renewable energy, innovative technology and sustainable products while avoiding coal, oil, tobacco and live animal exports.

Compare super fund fees below

The right column in the table below shows you the calculated fees on a $50,000 balance. You might have more or less than this in your super, but it's a great way to compare the funds side by side to give you an idea of which charge the lowest (and highest) fees.

Name Product Last 1 year performance Last 3 year performance Last 5 year performance Last 10 year performance Annual fees on $50k balance
AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option
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.
Spaceship GrowthX
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.
Sunsuper Lifecycle Balanced
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.
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
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.
QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1
QSuper is one of the largest and oldest member-owned funds in Australia. The QSuper Lifetime fund automatically personalises a your investment strategy based your age and account balance.
UniSuper Balanced
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.
Virgin Money Super - Lifestage Tracker
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).
Aware Super Growth
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.
HESTA Balanced Growth
HESTA is an industry super fund for the health and community services sector and open to all Australians. The Balanced Growth fund invests in a mix of asset classes without taking on too much, or too little, risk.
LUCRF MySuper Balanced
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
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
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
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
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
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.
HESTA - Sustainable Growth
HESTA Sustainable Growth is a pre-mixed, diversified investment option with a high to very high risk level. The investment managers take into account the social and environmental impact of the companies in which it invests, and excludes investment in tobacco, fossil fuels, uranium and weapon manufacturing. Investment performance as of 30 June 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

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 . 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.

*Past performance data is for the period ending June 2021.

Different types of super fees that you may have to pay

There are a number of different superannuation fees that you may be charged, although not all fees will apply to all funds. Some of the fees that your fund charges might not be charged by other funds and vice versa.

The main fees charged by super funds:

  • The establishment fee. Some funds charge an initial fee for setting up your superannuation fund.
  • Admin fees. Most funds will charge an annual admin fee in a dollar amount, plus an additional admin fee as a percentage of your balance.
  • Investment fees. Standard MySuper funds and balanced funds will charge an annual investment fee as a percentage of your balance. This will vary depending on the type of investments you've selected.
  • Indirect fees. A lot of funds have a fee called the indirect cost ratio (ICR), which is charged as a percentage of your balance annually. This fee is for all the indirect costs associated with managing your fund.
  • Contribution fees. You could be charged a fee each time you make a contribution or payment into your fund.
  • Termination or exit fee. These are becoming rare, but some funds do still charge a set fee when you decide to leave the fund.
  • Switching fees. These are charged if you change the investment options in your superannuation fund, or switch between different investment options.
  • Advisory fees. This might be charged by any adviser who offers you assistance and personal advice in relation to your super fund.

There are additional costs and fees that may apply with your super fund, depending on how your money is invested which could include:

  • Insurance premium costs
  • Transaction costs relating to the selling, buying or switching of investments
  • Maintenance fees relating to real property and direct investments

How to know what fees you're paying

If you're not sure what you're looking for, it can be tough figuring out what fees your super fund is charging you. But now that you know what to look out for using the list above, it should be easier.

Here are a few ways to find out what fees your super fund is charging you.

  • Call your fund. Give your fund a call, quote your membership number and ask what your annual fees were for the last financial year. You can also ask them for a breakdown of the admin fees, investment fees and the indirect costs.
  • Read the PDS. All super funds have their PDS available online on their website. If you're in the default MySuper or balanced options (which most people are), these fees need to be clearly listed in the PDS by law. The PDS will include an example of how the fees are applied based on a balance of $50,000.
  • Search the website. Head to your fund's website and navigate to the fees section. You'll find a list of each investment option and the different fees charged.
  • Check your statement. Log into your account online and take a look at your past few statements.

Fees charged by some of the biggest super funds

Here are the annual fees charged by some of the biggest super funds in Australia.

AustralianSuper fees

AustralianSuper's Balanced option, which is the default MySuper fund, has annual fees of $476.18 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $137.65 and annual investment and indirect fees of 0.63%.

REST Super fees

REST Super's Core Strategy, which is the default MySuper option, has annual fees of $467.36 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $91.76 plus 0.14% and annual investment and indirect fees of 0.61%.

HostPlus Super fees

HostPlus's Balanced option, the default MySuper option, has annual fees of $641.76 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $91.76, plus annual investment and indirect costs of 1.1% a year.

How to minimise super fees

  • 1. Change funds

The simplest way to cut down on super fees is to choose a fund that charges minimal fees. It's surprisingly quick and easy to compare fees online, so shop around to find a better deal.

Examine the fee structure of different funds, as member and administration fees could be charged as a flat annual rate or calculated as a percentage of your investment balance. There may even be a tiered fee structure in place, with lower percentages applied on higher balances, so it's wise to regularly review how much you're paying in super fees and whether there might be a better deal elsewhere.

  • 2. Choose the right fund

Industry super funds, which are owned by members not shareholders, tend to charge lower fees than retail funds. Keep this in mind when comparing super funds, but remember that fee amounts and structures do vary between individual funds.

  • 3. Consolidate lost super

As of 30 June 2016, ATO figures reveal that some 43% of Australians have more than one super account, which means almost half the population is paying unnecessary super fees. On the same date there were also a total of over 5.7 million lost and ATO-held superannuation accounts with a total value of just over $14 billion.

With this in mind, one of the key ways you can save on super fees is to consolidate your multiple super accounts into one account. Not only will this eliminate unnecessary fees (you will only have to pay fees on one account instead of on several accounts) but it could also help you boost your retirement savings with money you didn't even know belonged to you. To check on your super, consolidate super accounts and find lost super, login to your myGov account.

  • 4. Check your level of insurance cover

One of the largest expenses that can eat away at your super balance every year is insurance premiums. Most funds offer a variety of insurances as standard, including death cover, total and permanent disability and income protection insurance. Many funds offer a default level of insurance to members, so lowering the level of cover you have can reduce fees. It's also a requirement for MySuper accounts to offer life insurance to members, so remember to opt out when you sign up for a new account.

In some cases, you may even be able to remove insurance cover from your super account altogether. However, be warned that if you're thinking of purchasing similar cover outside of your super fund, it will often be more expensive (but may also provide a higher level of cover).

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