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Worst Super Funds

Don't stick with a poor super fund. Here's a current list of the worst-performing super funds in Australia and steps for how to switch to a better fund.

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Sticking with a poor-performing super fund can lead you to retire with hundreds of thousands of dollars less. Each year, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) analyses the super funds in the market and names and shames those that have performed the worst.

If you're in one of these funds, you're encouraged to switch to another fund with better returns.

Worst super funds for 2021

Here are the 13 worst-performing super funds in 2021, according to APRA:

  • 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

Why are these super funds the worst?

These funds have been determined the worst-performing funds by industry regulator APRA as part of its annual analysis of super returns. These 13 funds all delivered poor investment returns for members.

As part of APRA's Your Future, Your Super legislation, which aims to improve retirement outcomes for Australians, the regulator will be looking at how super funds are performing each year. It'll publicly name the worst-performing funds annually, so members have an opportunity to switch to a better-performing fund.

The first year APRA released this list was 2021, and the results are listed above.

How did APRA select the worst super funds?

APRA looked at the performance returns on 76 MySuper products out of 80 in the market for its 2021 analysis. It assessed the funds that had at least 5 years' worth of performance data and excluded the few new funds that haven't yet had enough time to show medium- to long-term returns.

MySuper funds are the default products offered by super funds when you join. They're designed to be a simple, diversified investment option with fees that aren't too high or too complex and to be suitable for the majority of members regardless of age. The reason APRA only looks at MySuper products when putting together its list of worst funds is that these products are where the vast majority of consumers have their super invested.

While the majority of funds APRA looked at (84%) not only met but exceeded their performance objective, 13 funds failed to meet their benchmark performance and under-performed. These 13 funds make up the list of the worst super funds above.

"It is welcome news that more than 84 per cent of products passed the performance test, however APRA remains concerned about those members in products that failed," said APRA executive board member Margaret Cole.

How to tell if you're in a bad super fund

If you're not with one of the 13 funds listed above, it doesn't necessarily mean you're not with a bad super fund. It's still important to compare super funds to make sure you're not getting stung with high fees and poor returns.

There are 2 main ways to tell if it might be time to switch:

Your fund charges high fees: If you're paying annual fees that are 1.5-2% of your account balance, this is considered to be high. For example, if you've got a balance of $30,000 and your annual fees are $600, this is a fee of 2% which is higher than many funds in the market.

Your fund delivers poor performance: Many of the top-performing super funds achieve average returns over 9% p.a. If your fund is delivering returns much lower than this, for example 4% or 5% p.a., this is quite low in comparison. However, the type of fund you're with will impact investment returns. If you're in a more conservative portfolio, you can expect lower returns over the long term.

How do the worst super funds compare to the best funds?

Being in a poor-performing super fund can have a huge impact on your super balance when you retire. It might not seem like a big difference early on, but the more your super grows and benefits from compound growth over your working life, the bigger the difference will be.

Example: Poor-performing fund vs high-performing fund

Let's say you're 25 years old, earning $80,000 a year and have a super balance of $20,000. Assuming your income stays the same until you retire, here's the super balance you'd have at retirement with different performing super funds, according to MoneySmart's calculator.

Your super fund's performance p.a. until you retire Your balance at retirement
5% p.a.$367,197
7% p.a.$539,211
9% p.a.$818,833

As you can see, switching from a super fund that earns 5% p.a. to one that earns 9% p.a. can help you retire with more than double the amount of super. That's a lot of extra money for simply switching from a poor-performing fund.

Remember, past performance doesn't guarantee future performance. When looking at a fund's performance, make sure you look at long-term returns (over 10+ years) instead of the most recent year's return on its own.

What to do if you're in a bad super fund

If you're with one of the worst-performing super funds that APRA names on its list, you'll receive an email or letter from your super fund. The fund is required to tell you it has failed the performance test and encourage you to compare super funds.

According to APRA, a few months after it published its 2021 list of worst super funds, only 7% of members in one of those funds had actually switched their super. APRA said this was concerning, as it meant people would retire with less.

If you're in a bad super fund you should do the following:

  1. Look at how your fund has performed over the long term (5-10 years) and how this compares with others in the market.
  2. Consider switching to a better performing super fund (it's easier than you think to change super funds).
  3. Make sure you properly close your old fund and consolidate any other funds you have into your new fund.
  4. Give your employer your new fund account details so you can start receiving your super payments into your new fund.

Even if your super fund isn't named as one of APRA's worst-performing funds, it's never a bad time to compare how your fund is doing against others.

Switch to a better super fund today

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.
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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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