⚡️⚡️⚡️
With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
💡
Compare Prices Now
⚡️⚡️⚡️

Superannuation fees compared and explained

All super funds charge different fees, and you can save hundreds of dollars each year by comparing. We've also got some tips on how to reduce your super fees.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Promoted
Virgin Money Super Lifestage Tracker invests in a mix of assets in line with your age, investing in more growth assets while you’re young and reducing your risk as you near retirement. It has achieved a return of 10.07%p.a. over the last 5 years, with annual fees of $392.99 for a $50k balance.
Promoted
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.

1 - 16 of 37
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.)

Virgin Money Super - LifeStage Tracker

Virgin Money Super - LifeStage Tracker
+17.29%
+13.78%
+10.07%
New Fund
$392
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.

Virgin Money Super LifeStage Tracker is a lifestage super product, so your mix of investments will be continually readjusted in line with your age. This means you'll be invested in more growth assets while you're young.

HESTA Balanced Growth

HESTA Balanced Growth
+14.54%
+10.74%
+9.07%
+9.69%
$528
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.

Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) - Lifecycle Balanced Pool

Finder Award
Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) -  Lifecycle Balanced Pool
+16.31%
+11.45%
+9.58%
+10.14%
$628
Sunsuper and QSuper have merged to create Australian Retirement Trust, one of Australia's largest super funds with more than 2 million members. Its Lifecycle Balanced product invests your super in a mix of growth assets, and reduces your risk when you're near retirement.

AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option

Finder Award
AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option
+15.02%
+12.42%
+10.31%
+10.66%
$472
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

Spaceship GrowthX
+12.31%
+19.14%
New Fund
New Fund
$536
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher 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.

Australian Ethical Super Balanced

Green Company
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
+13.19%
+12.82%
+9.71%
+9.78%
$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.

QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1

QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1
+12.67%
+10.33%
+9.03%
New Fund
$360
QSuper is part of Australian Retirement Trust. QSuper Lifetime automatically adjusts your investment mix in line with your age and your Lifetime account balance. Eligibility criteria and conditions apply to open a QSuper account (refer to 'More Info').

Aware Super High Growth

Aware Super High Growth
+18.15%
+14.45%
+11.63%
+11.83%
$694
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.
If you join Aware Super's default MySuper Lifecycle option your super will be invested in the High Growth option while you're under 55, giving more exposure to local and international shares.

Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow

Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow
+13.2%
+10.02%
New Fund
New Fund
$488
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.

AustralianSuper - Socially Aware

AustralianSuper - Socially Aware
+14.97%
+10.9%
+9.05%
+10.1%
$501
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.

Bendigo SmartStart Super - Growth Index

Bendigo SmartStart Super - Growth Index
+14.46%
+12.38%
+9.08%
+10.4%
$338
Bendigo SmartStart is a retail super fund. The Growth Index Fund is the default MySuper option for members under 55.

Kogan Super - Enhanced Indexed Growth

Kogan Super - Enhanced Indexed Growth
+14.81%
New Fund
New Fund
New Fund
$332
Kogan Super offers low-fee, high-performing indexed investment options that are managed by Mercer, Australia's largest super administrator. The Enhanced Indexed Growth product invests around two thirds of your balance into Australian and global shares.

Australian Catholic Super Bonds

Australian Catholic Super Bonds
-1.66%
+3.98%
+3.87%
+3.83%
$278

Australian Catholic Super Conservative

Australian Catholic Super Conservative
+6.86%
+6.56%
+5.55%
+6.17%
$463

Australian Catholic Super Conservative Balanced

Australian Catholic Super Conservative Balanced
+10.43%
+8.31%
+6.77%
+7.47%
$478

Australian Catholic Super Growth

Australian Catholic Super Growth
+15.54%
+11.3%
New Fund
New Fund
$488
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.
loading

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 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.

*Past performance and fee data is for the period ending December 2021.

The super fees 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 you need to worry about when comparing funds are the admin fees, investment fees and indirect fees. These will clearly be found on the fund's website and in their PDS.

Fees charged by super funds:

  • The establishment fee. Some funds charge an initial fee for setting up your superannuation fund, but this isn't very common.
  • 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 other pre-mixed 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, for example an indexed option will usually have a much lower investment fee.
  • 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, but this isn't that common with most default funds.
  • 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.
  • Brokerage fee. If you've selected a fund that allows you to invest directly in shares, you may need to pay a brokerage fee each time you trade.

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 superannuation 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. Remember, the main fees you should worry about are the admin fees, investment fees and indirect costs (the ICR fee).

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

  • Use our comparison table. The table above shows you the annual fees (based on an average balance of $50,000) that the super funds charge. This is the quickest and easiest way to compare the fees.
  • Call your fund. Give your fund a call, quote your membership number and ask what your total 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.

What super fees should I be paying?

Obviously with fees of any kind, the lower the better. The fees you should be paying on your super depends on the fund you're with and the type of investment option you've selected. However for most people who have their super in a MySuper product or another pre-mixed option, fees more than 1-1.5% of your balance are considered to be on the expensive side.

For example, if your balance is $50,000 and your total fees were 1% of your balance you'd have a total annual fee of $500. Fees much higher than this could be considered expensive.

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 $472.65 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 $472.36 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $91.76 plus 0.14% and annual investment and indirect fees of 0.62%.

HostPlus Super fees

HostPlus's Balanced option, the default MySuper option, has annual fees of $603.64 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $78, plus annual investment and indirect costs of 0.99% 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).

  • 5. Consider your investment option

Some super funds offer indexed options as an alternative to the default MySuper product and other pre-mixed products. Because an indexed option tracks an index and is often passively managed, these options often have much lower fees. However, you might prefer to stick with a fund that's actively managed - it's up to you!

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site