Super fund of the year

Research company Chant West has announced its 2020 fund of the year as the financial watchdog reports that superannuation funds have slipped slightly in meeting the five-day deadline for the release of funds under the government’s COVID-19 hardship rules.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) announced on Monday that the average payment amount had dropped slightly from $7629 to $7546. AustralianSuper had received the most applications, with its payout exceeding the $1 billion mark.

Sunsuper, Chant West’s Super Fund of the Year 2020, further bolstered its reputation, when it was singled out named as the only major player to release funds within the five business day guide 100 per cent of the time.

Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement was at the other end of the scale, releasing funds within five business days only 15 per cent of the time, said APRA.

The 10 funds with the highest number of applications received from the ATO have made 795,000 payments worth a total of $5.96 billion.

According to the Financial Standard, 72 per cent of all payments have been made from not-for-profit funds, with the remaining 28 per cent from retail funds.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament last Friday that early release claims stood at roughly $11.7 billion, that “this was consistent with Treasury estimate and this was not presenting liquidity issues”.

Meanwhile, $75 billion Sunsuper, which is in the midst of a merger with QSuper, collected three gongs at the Chant West 2020 Super Fund Awards: super fund of the year, corporate solutions fund of the year and best fund for member services.

QSuper was named pension fund of the year and best fund for investments.

Ian Fryer, head of research at Chant West, said a key part of the awards process was meeting with funds to drill down further into the services they provided.

He said: “Super funds need to invest in their people and their systems to ensure they can continue to deliver for members over the long term. And on performance, it’s not about the one-year numbers but about the value funds add to members’ retirement income through strong performance over the long term.

“The best funds are those that keep their eye on the long game.

“Since the introduction of the Super Guarantee in 1992, we have had three full market cycles and three significant downturns, and the performance numbers still look great with funds well above their investment objectives.

“The strategy of using a well-diversified balanced fund to deliver investment returns that are meaningfully ahead of inflation has worked well for super fund members.”

Martin Fahy, the chief executive of the Association of  Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA),  says, “It’s beholden on us to be optimistic about the future.” He added: “The reality is that [in] the attempt to build back better in the coming months and years, superannuation is going to play a key role.

“That strength and resilience [of the system] requires that superannuation has adequacy, that it is compulsory and that it is universal and we need to defend those pillars going forward.”

You can find a complete list of Chant West winners here.

Have you been happy with the performance of your super fund in recent months? And in recent years? Have you sought financial advice from your fund?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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