You can find a lot of articles on SuperGuide about the top performing or cheapest super funds (see the list at the bottom of this article). While these factors are very important when you are comparing super funds, they are not the be-all and end-all.
The major super research houses (Chant West, Rainmaker and SuperRatings) have long recognised this, and sought to bring attention to the super and pension funds that deliver on performance and fees, but also go further in some of the other services they deliver.
This may be due to the education services the super fund provides, or some new and innovative investment options. It could be cost-effective insurance or simply top-notch customer support. What’s certain is it won’t be one thing, but a combination of many factors that make one super fund stand out from the pack.
Despite the bad press that super funds sometimes get, ultimately they are legally obliged to act in the best interests of their members, and the best super funds use that principle to continually improve their service.
In this article we report the Funds of the Year as chosen by Chant West, Rainmaker and SuperRatings going back to 2013. For the latest year we’ll also list all the winners from other categories.
Funds of the Year – 2018/2019
This year UniSuper has come out top in two out of the three awards.
|Rainmaker / SelectingSuper||Hostplus|
Chant West’s Head of Research Ian Fryer said the impression that came out of the Royal Commission and Productivity Commission was that the super industry had not been doing a good job for members, but on the investment side “the numbers suggest otherwise”.
“Looking at the past 20 years, we have had two full market cycles and two significant downturns, and the numbers still look great,” Mr Fryer said. “The super industry as a whole has provided strong returns for its members. The strategy of using a well-diversified balanced fund to deliver investment returns that are meaningfully ahead of inflation has worked. The investment model seems to be working well, but in other areas we know we can, and indeed must, do better. This industry, and we as individuals in that industry, will only succeed if we fulfil our mandate to do what is best for members, and to direct our energies to that goal.”
Alex Dunnin, Director of Research at Rainmaker Information said “Super funds continue to surprise on the upside, achieving average returns of more than 9% in 2017-18. At the same time these funds are working hard to lower fees and insurance premiums cost while innovating with new more responsive products, which highlights how well superannuation funds in Australia are doing their job,”
“Australia’s best super funds routinely earn more than double what the worst performers deliver so members should check at least once a year whether their fund is still the right one for them. Not all funds are the same. It’s also no surprise the top funds in Australia have an enviable track record in adopting new technology, lowering fees, and proactively working with their members’ industries and communities,” Dunnin added.
SuperRatings Executive Director Kirby Rappell said “The Fund of the Year awards are about recognising those superannuation and pension funds that have gone above and beyond in delivering value and securing the retirement objectives of their members,”
“Although it was a very tight race, UniSuper has clearly demonstrated their commitment to member value across a range of criteria, including investment performance and fees, member services, financial advice and insurance, and fund governance.”
Funds of the Year – 2013 to 2019
In the table below you can find the Funds of the Year for the last seven years.
Unisuper are again the big winners with five awards in total. Sunsuper are close behind having won four times, followed by Hostplus with three wins.
AustralianSuper, REST and QSuper have each won twice, and HESTA and Telstra Super have both won once.
It’s notable that all funds are Industry funds, except for Telstra Super which is a Corporate fund.
|Year||Chant West||Rainmaker / Selecting Super||SuperRatings|
|2019||UniSuper||Not announced yet||UniSuper|
Sources: Chant West, Rainmaker and SuperRatings
Other award winners for 2018/2019
Besides the Fund of the Year, each research house also awards funds for excelling in more specialist areas, such as pensions, investments and innovation.
|Pension Fund of the Year||QSuper|
|Advised Product of the Year||Netwealth|
|Corporate Solutions Fund of the Year||Sunsuper|
|Specialist Fund of the year||HESTA|
|Best Fund: Investments||UniSuper|
|Best Fund: Member Services||Sunsuper|
|Best Fund: Insurance||NGS Super|
|Best Fund: Advice Services||UniSuper|
|Best Fund: Innovation||GuildSuper|
|Best Fund: Integrity||First State Super and VicSuper|
|Best Fund: Longevity Product||Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale|
Source: Chant West
Rainmaker / Selecting Super
|Best in Show – MySuper Product||Hostplus|
|Best in Show – MySuper Lifestage||Sunsuper for life Business|
|Best Personal Choice Product||AustralianSuper Personal Plan|
|Best Retirement Product||CareSuper Pension|
|Best Performance – Australian Equities||Catholic Super|
|Best Performance – International equities||Vision Super Saver|
|Best Performance – Fixed Interest||Hostplus|
|Best Performance – Property||Prime Super|
|Best Asset Consultant||JANA Investment Advisers|
|Best Value Insurance in Super||IAG & NRMA Superannuation Plan | MLC Limited|
|Best Millennial Super Product||HESTA|
|Best MySuper Performance – Risk Weighted||Hostplus|
|Best Long Term Performance||Hostplus|
|Investment Leadership Award||HESTA|
|Members’ Choice Award||AvSuper|
|Industry Service Award||Lawrie Cox|
Source: Rainmaker / SelectingSuper
|Pension of the Year||QSuper|
|Choice Super of the Year||Sunsuper|
|MySuper of the Year||UniSuper|
|Career Fund of the Year||Hostplus|
|Best New Innovation||Sunsuper BEAM|
|Rising Star||Tasplan Super|
|Infinity||Australian Ethical Super|
Discover the best performing super funds in the following SuperGuide articles:
- Best performing super funds over the last financial year (to June 2019)
- Best performing super funds over 10 financial years
- Best performing pension funds over 5 calendar years (to December 2018)
- Best performing super funds over 5 calendar years (to December 2018)
- Best performing super funds over 15 calendar years
- Best performing super funds over 1 calendar year (to December 2018)
- Looking good? New beauty parade for super funds with ‘best in show’ proposal