Ten handy uses for the APRA200 performance list

Note: This article is updated each year to reflect the latest APRA performance data for Australia’s largest 200 super funds. The latest data was released by APRA in January 2014. The next APRA report is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2015.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its latest report on the performance of Australia’s largest 200 superannuation funds spanning the years 2004 through to 2013. The APRA report also provides the average returns for the largest 200 super funds over a 5-year period, and over a 10-year period to June 2013.

I have chosen to call the APRA data, the APRA200 list. A major criticism of the APRA200 list is directed at the fact that many super funds offer more than one investment option. Since the APRA200 list only shows returns based on total fund assets rather than returns for the different investment options within the super fund (see SuperGuide article Exposing the performance history of Australia’s largest 200 super funds), the assertion from many in the industry is that this fund level data is consequently misleading for super fund members, and irrelevant.

The APRA200 list is not perfect but nor is the information supplied by the superannuation funds to populate the APRA200 list. If the industry wants something better than the existing APRA200 list, then the superannuation industry should help APRA produce better tables by working with APRA to provide more comprehensive information on fund investment options.

In the meantime, here are 10 handy uses for the APRA200 performance list.

  1. Largest 200. You now have a list of Australia’s largest 200 funds. The largest 200 super funds hold 99.9% of all money held in APRA-regulated super funds, which means the remaining 1240-odd super funds regulated by APRA hold the remaining 1% of APRA-regulated assets (see Comparing super funds: Who’s who in the super zoo). Note that exempt public sector schemes, which are also regulated by APRA, are not included in this data. Self-managed super funds are not included in these figures either, although SMSFs hold more than a third of all superannuation assets.
  2. Default investment options. If a super fund in the list has 100% of its money invested in a default option, or the majority of the fund’s super money invested in a default option, then the rate of return published by APRA generally reflects the true performance of that fund.
  3. Number of investment options. The APRA200 list enables you to find out which funds offer more than one investment option, and how many investment options they offer. For example, the Coal Industry Superannuation Fund (a public sector fund) offers one investment option, while AvWrap Retirement Service (offered by Macquarie) offers 2,899 investment options! The AvWrap Retirement Service has 1,200 fund members which means the super fund has more than twice as many investment options as fund members.
  4. More investment choice, more fees? Here’s a tip. The more investment options a super fund offers, the more likely that the fees of that super fund are higher. Sometimes however, a super fund surprises you and keeps the fees low even with a huge offering of investment options. Retail super funds generally offer the most investment options.
  5. Types of super funds. You can discover whether a super fund in the APRA200 list is classified as a retail, industry, corporate or public sector fund (the type of super fund appears in the third or fourthh column of the APRA200 tables). For more information on the types of super funds check out the SuperGuide article Comparing super funds: who’s who in the super zoo.
  6. The $10 billion club. You can find out how many of the 200 super funds hold more than $10 billion in assets, which gives them negotiating power with service providers and may mean lower fees. Note that I state ‘may’ mean lower fees. If you’re curious, I counted 25 super funds with more than $10 billion in assets, and many more with $5 billion-plus in assets.
  7. Fund members. You can find out how many fund members each of the 200 super funds look after. For example, the smallest fund membership award in the APRA200 list goes to 4 super funds which each have only 200 members: Bundaberg Sugar Ltd Superannuation Plan (and $41 million in assets), Munich Holdings of Australasia Pty Ltd Superannuation Scheme (and $59 million in assets), Perpetual Super Wrap (and $189 million in assets), and Suncorp Defined Benefit Fund (and $67 million in assets).
  8. Compare your fund. You can compare the profile of your existing super fund with the super funds in this list.
  9. Find lost super. You can find a list of eligible rollover funds (ERFs) on page 20 of the PDF APRA report. This handy list (of 13 ERFs), and the main list containing Australia’s largest 200 funds can help individuals locate stray super accounts. Use ATO’s SuperSeeker, in conjunction with contacting your old super funds, to help you consolidate super monies.

10. Check out performance data. Okay, the data is not totally current (June 2013 is moving further into the recent past, but the report is very comprehensive and delivered in a very timely manner by APRA) and the figures don’t always reflect the performance of individual investment options but the APRA report is still an interesting and helpful read.

You can check out the APRA200 list by clicking on this link.

The following SuperGuide articles may also assist you in understanding the APRA200 performance lists:

© Copyright Trish Power 2009-2014

Copyright for this article belongs to Trish Power, and cannot be reproduced without express and specific consent.

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Comments

  1. Richard Burrowes says:

    Keep up the good work.

    Your web site is a great educational tool.

    Regards,

    Richard

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