Types of superannuation funds

You can expect to find 5 broad types of superannuation funds in Australia – industry super funds, retail super funds, corporate (or company) super funds, public sector super funds and small super funds. Small super funds include self-managed super funds and small APRA funds. Other super fund types that are available include eligible rollover funds (ERFs) and Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs), although RSAs are not strictly super funds.

Some super funds are restricted to employees of certain companies or industries, while other super funds are available to everyone. Super funds available to everyone are known as public offer funds. You can find a summary explaining the different types of super funds in the SuperGuide article Comparing super funds: Who’s who in the super zoo?

You may also hear the term MySuper, which is a default super fund, that is, the type of super fund an individual belongs to if he or she did not actively choose a super fund. MySuper funds can be any of the 4 types of large super funds, although MySuper funds are subject to special rules. For more information on MySuper click here.

Superannuation funds can be structured in 2 ways – as an accumulation fund (also known as a defined contribution fund), or a defined benefit fund.

  • Around 90% of all super funds and accounts are defined contribution (accumulation) funds, which means that the final retirement is based on the amount of money your employer and you contribute to the fund, plus earnings less taxes and fees.
  • The other 10% of super funds are defined benefit funds, which means a member’s final super benefit is based on a formula that takes into account the member’s final salary and the number of years that a person works for a company or government department. A super fund can be a combination of defined contribution and defined benefit.

For more information about defined benefit funds click here. If you belong to a public sector super fund, special rules often apply. For more information on public sector funds click here.

Set out below are all SuperGuide articles explaining Types of superannuation funds.

Investment performance: Super funds gain 0.1% for September 2016

The median superannuation growth fund gained 0.1% in value for the month of September 2016, delivering 3.1% for the first 3 months of the 2016/2017 financial year, according to rating company, Chant West.For the 3 months to September 2016, Australian shares gained 5.2% in value. Over the same … [Read more...]

Investment performance: Super funds gain 0.3% for August 2016

The median superannuation growth fund gained 0.3% in value for the month of August 2016, delivering 3.0% for the first 2 months of the 2016/2017 financial year, according to rating company, Chant West.For the month of August 2016, Australian shares lost 1.6% in value. Over the same period, … [Read more...]

Accessing super early: 14 legal ways to withdraw your super benefits

Many Australians are facing hard times, especially with structural change transforming our economy. The harsh reality is that mortgage repayments and everyday living expenses continue even when you suffer redundancy, illness or other forms of misfortune.We receive hundreds of emails from our 2 … [Read more...]

Super for Beginners (25 Q&As)

One of SuperGuide’s more popular initiatives has been the development of a ‘Super for Beginners’ section that answers some of the many questions that we receive from those readers who are new to superannuation and new to super’s terminology.The series currently consists of several lead articles, … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 21: You know where your super goes, right?

Q: How do I find out where my super contributions end up? What I mean is, how do I find out the name of my super fund?A: Your question is a popular one in Australia, even though super fund members receive member statements from their super funds every year. Know the name of your super fund If … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 13: Why pick one industry super fund over another?

Q: I know that industry super funds generally have a good performance – particularly because of low fees, but I wondered, what is the benefit of picking one for your particular industry? I understand how people in some industries may have similar needs but is that really true these days in terms of … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 11: Is my super fund good enough?

Q: I have my super with a major financial organisation. I’m wondering, are they a good company to be dealing with? I feel that their fees are a bit high: based on an investment amount of $300,000 the MER amount is $6,600 (2.2%) plus a monthly admin fee of $8.50. What are your thoughts on this … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 2: My first job

Q: I am 16 years of age. I still go to school but I have just started my first part-time job. Do I get any superannuation? And if I do, where does it go?Congratulations on your first job. You ask two questions about your super entitlements:Am I eligible for Superannuation Guarantee? … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, Part 1: I’m new to Australia – help me!

Q: I’m new to Australia and I have no idea where to start with my super in order to have the best outcome 40 years from now. So far, I have had my super spread between 3 industry super funds, as organised by temp employment agencies. I know this is not the way to continue, but I am not sure who to … [Read more...]

Investment performance: Super funds deliver 2.7% for July 2016

The median superannuation growth fund gained an impressive 2.7% for the month of July 2016, due to a sustained rally in Australian and international shares, according to rating company, Chant West.For the month of July 2016, Australian shares gained 6.4% in value. Over the same period, … [Read more...]

Super fees: Top 10 cheapest funds in Australia

Note: This article contains the latest available fee information. In this article you can find the cheapest super funds and the cheapest super pension funds. We update this article periodically with fee data issued by SuperRatings, and for pension funds, by SelectingSuper. Latest update was August … [Read more...]

Retirement performers! Top 30 pension funds over 5 years

Note: This article lists the 30 top-performing pension (retirement) funds over 5 years to 30 June 2016. For the top-performing super funds, see SuperGuide article Super stars! Top 30 super funds over 5 years.Discovering the best-performing super funds is always fascinating reading (at least for … [Read more...]