The median growth super fund (61-80% growth assets) was up 1.9% in November, lifting the return for the first 11 months of the calendar year to 14.4%. Barring any last-minute surprises, super funds are closing in on an annual return well into double digits.
This stellar result is all the sweeter because it was unimaginable at the start of 2019. The 4.6% fall in the December 2018 quarter was a shocker, and worries were mounting over the trade dispute between the US and China and a Brexit stalemate. In Australia, the upcoming federal election was also weighing heavily on investors.
Yet here we are, proving once again that trying to predict markets is a fool’s game.
The main driver of positive returns in November was shares. Australian shares and hedged international shares both rose 3.2%. But the fall in the Aussie dollar from US69c to US68c boosted returns from unhedged international shares to 4.7%. Australian listed property also performed well, with REITs up 2.3%, but global REITs fell 0.9%.
ChantWest senior investment research manager, Mano Mohankumar said this year’s annual return is on track to be the 10th positive calendar year in the past eleven.
After such a long positive streak, Mohankumar urges caution. “(Super fund members) need to understand that the strong returns they’ve experienced over the past decade aren’t sustainable over the long term, and they should expect more modest returns ahead.
“With low record interest rates and low inflation, asset prices have risen to levels that are at or approaching full valuation. There’s ongoing concern about the slowing global economic growth and what central banks have left in their armouries to counter it.
“The other major uncertainty, of course, is trade relations between the US and China. While there has been some limited progress in the past month, the underlying tensions remain unresolved and could quite easily resurface. And while Boris Johnson’s comfortable victory in last week’s UK election means Brexit will now occur, there’s still uncertainty about what economic consequences that will have.” he says.
Yet despite these ongoing uncertainties, most superannuation risk categories have recorded double digit returns for the 11 months to November. Strong sharemarkets have boosted All Growth funds by 21.1%, but even Conservative funds have returned 8% in the calendar year to date.
The following table shows the super performance across various timeframes for five investment categories.
Super fund performance (Results to 30 November 2019)
(% Growth Assets)
Source: Chant West
If you’re interested in the monthly performance for super funds over 5 investment options going back to July 2015, see the SuperGuide monthly super fund performance Reckoner.
If you’re interested in the performance of lifecycle super funds (including their latest returns), see the SuperGuide article What are lifecycle super funds, and how do they perform?
Learn more about super investing in the following SuperGuide articles:
- How investing in infrastructure boosts your super account
- What are listed and unlisted investments and why does it matter?
- How to choose an investment option for your super pension
- Risk profiling and your investment choice
- Understanding the dynamics on which your super fund invests
- SMSF investment rules: What every trustee should know
- How to create an SMSF investment strategy (including examples)
Learn more about investment performance over calendar years in the following SuperGuide articles:
Learn more about investment performance over financial years in the following SuperGuide articles: