Judging a super fund's performance
Super's judgement day
A super fund's investment performance will change from year to
year. Your super will grow over the long term, but in the meantime
you might experience some years of low and even negative
Being able to judge the performance of your super fund will help
you make good decisions about your retirement savings.
Looking at fund performance
Your super fund's investment performance will make a big
difference to how much you will retire on.
No-one can reliably predict which fund will perform the best.
It's far better to pick the right investment strategy and the fund
with lower fees, and take the ups and downs of investment
performance in your stride.
When judging the performance of super funds:
- Look for a reasonable performance. It's a
waste of time trying to pick next year's top performer based on
last year's figures.
- Look at the fund's performance over at least 5
years. Super is a lifetime investment, and short-term
figures, such as the last 12 months or less, are not very
- Look at the fund's performance after the impact of fees
- Compare like with like. Look at what the fund is
investing in. If a fund has 80% of its money in shares and
property, only compare it with other similar funds, not funds with
most of their money in cash and fixed interest.
- Try to use the same start and finish dates for each
fund. Five-year performance from June to June will differ
from January to January.
Long term performance is what
How well did your fund invest your money? The fund's annual
report tells you the investments it made and how they performed
during the year. You can also get useful information from most
If your fund performed worse than average over a 5-year period,
Does the return broadly match the target set out in your fund's
product disclosure statement? If not,
look for an explanation and ask yourself if it makes sense.
Few super funds consistently outperform the long-term averages,
and it's really guesswork trying to pick the few that will.
Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Today's
top-performing funds tend to fall back to the average over time.
However, consistently poor performance can prove hard to turn
Compare super funds
Super comparison websites like these, publish ratings on
For more information see using comparison
Looking at the performance of your super fund
will help you stay in control of your super money. Check how your
fund's 5-year return compares to the average for that investment
option (e.g. growth, balanced, etc). Super is a lifetime investment
so 1 year's returns are not a reason to change funds.
Last updated: 01 Apr 2019