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Returns for super fund members exceeded $400bn in 2021


2021 was the sixth-highest year for super returns since 2000, new research has found.

Sponsored by Emma Musgrave 9 minute read

With the median balanced super fund delivering a return of 13.4 per cent in 2021, SuperRatings has estimated that member returns for the year would likely exceed $400 billion.

The firm noted that positive returns had been delivered in 11 out of the 12 months of 2021, with a continued recovery during the second half of the year.

“2021 was certainly an eventful year for Australia’s superannuation members, with a number of changes taking place, as well as a lot more ups and downs across investment markets,” said SuperRatings executive director Kirby Rappell.

The return for 2021 ranks as the sixth-highest since 2000, according to SuperRatings, and only three years of negative returns have been seen over the past 22 years, which has delivered an annualised return of about 6.6 per cent p.a..

Chant West previously noted that super funds had marked their 10th consecutive year of positive returns.

Hostplus Balanced ranked as the top balanced option over the past 12 months, with a return of 19.1 per cent, followed by Qantas Super Gateway Growth (18.5 per cent), Sunsuper for Life Balanced (16.5 per cent), Christian Super MyEthicalSuper (16 per cent), and TelstraSuper Corp Plus Balanced (15.9 per cent).

“Overall, it has been a big year for super. If we look at the long term, funds continue to perform well against objectives, but it is likely to be a rockier year ahead,” Mr Rappell said.

“For consumers, it remains important to set your strategy, stick to it for the long term and future you will likely thank you.”

Over the past 10 years, Hostplus Balanced also ranked as the top balanced option with a return of 10.7 per cent p.a., closely followed by AustralianSuper Balanced (10.6 per cent p.a.) and UniSuper Accum (1) Balanced (10.6 per cent p.a.).

Super Ratings also published rankings of super funds according to their volatility-adjusted returns. QSuper Balanced topped the table with a return of 7.6 per cent p.a. over the past seven years.

Following the introduction of super stapling late last year, which sees individuals stapled to their super fund when changing jobs, Mr Rappell said that Australians should take the opportunity to review their existing fund.

“As you settle into 2022, now is a good time to do a health check on your fund and be sure to look at returns as well as fees and insurance,” said Mr Rappell.

“While all super funds have good years and those that are more challenging, strong long term performance remains the main game for members.”

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Emma Musgrave

Emma Musgrave


Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

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